It took prized Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen 17 games to get the monkey off of his back. It took him 17 games, but finally the 20-year-old Finn has his first NHL goal on Friday.
“It’s a very nice feeling,” Rantanen said after the game. “I tried to look for the tip for Landy, but it wasn’t open. So, I tried to just rip it over the glove, and this time it went in.”
Rantanen’s been close plenty of times, but on this one, he finally buried the biscuit, beating Winnipeg Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson top shelf. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar isn’t surprised that he was actually looking for Landeskog, but now that he’s seen the wrister, he’s hoping for even more from the youngster.
“I’m seeing it more and more that he’s a pass-first guy, but he’s got a great shot,” said Bednar. “Big goal for him. I’m hoping that will open the gates for him a little bit.”
Rantanen is now skating on Colorado’s top line. He’s also seeing plenty of time on the powerplay, showing that the coaching staff’s confidence in him is growing. He has shown flashes of the talent that made him the 10th overall selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. If he continues to play the way he did against the Jets on Friday, Rantanen’s name could become a fixture on scoresheets this season.