Rantanen, Lehkonen lead Avalanche past Flames 4-1
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Mikko Rantanen and Artturi Lehkonen each scored two goals, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Wednesday night.
Nathan MacKinnon, J.T. Compher and Devon Toews had two assists apiece as Colorado (23-17-3) earned its third consecutive win. MacKinnon has four goals and nine assists during a six-game point streak.
Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 34 stops to improve to 17-11-3.
“It feels really good,” said Georgiev, who made his first start in four games. “I got a little break from playing time, a little refresh for the mind. I would say the guys did such a good job.”
Tyler Toffoli scored for Calgary (21-16-9) in its second straight loss. Jacob Markstrom had 27 saves.
The Avalanche jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes.
“Good execution in the first period,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “We were disciplined with the puck. We were making plays.
“Earned a couple power plays through hard work and took advantage of our chances.”
Following a defensive zone turnover for the Flames, Compher set up Rantanen for a one-timer that went inside a goalpost 6:17 into the game.
Another Calgary miscue led to a second goal for Colorado. An errant pass after winning an offensive zone faceoff resulted in a 2-on-1 rush in which MacKinnon set up Lehkonen at 11:01.
Less than two minutes later, Lehkonen netted his second of the night and fifth in his last three games. Rantanen’s point shot whistled wide of the Calgary net, but the rebound off the end boards popped out to the other side and Lehkonen buried it over Markstrom as he slid across.
“Right away, even though shots were pretty tight, they had all the chances and we were flat and slow,” Flames center Elias Lindholm said.
After a scoreless second period, the Flames stopped Georgiev’s shutout bid on a power play 2:27 into the third. Toffoli got his 16th of the season.
Rantanen put the game away with an empty-netter with 58 seconds left.
“That’s what we have to do more,” he said. “Just be ready to play right away from the start of the puck (drop) so if the opposing team is not on their toes we can take advantage and that’s what we did.”
Colorado played without reigning Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar, who was held out of the lineup against his hometown team due to an undisclosed injury. He is listed as day to day.
The 24-year-old Makar leads the NHL in average ice time (27:09).
“It’s obviously impossible to replace Cale, the best D in the world. I think we came together as a team,” Rantanen said.
THIRTY GOALS AGAIN
Rantanen’s opening goal was his 30th of the season, giving him three consecutive 30-plus goal seasons and four for his career. He’s also the fastest to reach 30-goal mark since the franchise relocated to Colorado (43 games). Joe Sakic had done it in 44 games in 1995-96.
Avalanche: At Vancouver on Friday night.
Flames: Host Tampa Bay on Saturday.
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