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Mikko Rantanen’s 3-point night propels Avalanche past Flames

Jan 18, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Mikko Rantanen collected two goals and one assist and Artturi Lehkonen scored twice as the visiting Colorado Avalanche rode a three-goal first period en route to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

Nathan MacKinnon collected two assists and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 34 saves for the Avalanche, who have won three straight games.

Tyler Toffoli replied for the Flames, who have dropped two consecutive games in regulation, while goalie Jacob Markstrom stopped 27 shots. Calgary sits in the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference standings, two points ahead of the surging Avalanche — who have three games in hand.

The defending Stanley Cup champions have been hit by injuries all season, with star defenseman Cale Makar the latest to be sidelined, but that didn’t impact them from the drop of the puck

Rantanen sent the Avalanche off and running when he opened the scoring at the 6:17 mark. Taking advantage of a Calgary turnover, J.T. Compher set up Rantanen for the one-timer from the top of the right circle to bury. With the goal, Rantanen becomes the fasted Avalanche player to reach the 30-goal mark in a season, needing just 43 games. It also marks his third consecutive 30-goal campaign.

Lehkonen then scored twice less than two minutes apart. His first of the night came at 11:01 when MacKinnon beat a Flames defenseman to the loose puck at his own blue line to create a two-on-one rush, and set him up for an easy redirect goal.

Lehkonen’s notched his second of the game on the power play. MacKinnon’s pass attempt from the point was missed and banked off the end boards right to him at the other side of the net for a tap-in tally to notch his 14th of the season.

Lehkonen has scored five goals in a three-game goal-scoring spree, while MacKinnon has collected four goals and 13 points in a six-game point streak.

Toffoli’s power-play goal at 2:27 of the third period — a long wrist shot off the post and into the net for his 16th of the season — provided hope for the hosts but it was too little and too late for a comeback.

Rantanen was awarded an empty-net goal in the final minute. He didn’t put the puck in the net but Calgary’s Nikita Zadorov slashed his stick while they were at the crease with no goalie on the ice.

–Field Level Media