After a complete defensive breakdown in the third period, Thursday night’s matchup against the Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Center was one to forget for the Colorado Avalanche; as they fell, 7-4. Rookie forward Mikko Rantanen, perhaps, was the lone bright spot of the night.
All season long, the 20-year-old Finn has given the Avalanche a reason to look forward from this aberration of a season (20-50-3) as he has grown into an offensive threat from Day One.
“He’s been impressive,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “Some nights, he doesn’t get on the board, but especially lately, he’s played four or five games where it’s been the best games he’s played all year. Tonight, I thought MacKinnon and Rantanen, that line, those two guys in particular were outstanding.”
On Thursday, he added two goals to his already impressive first-year resúmé to bring his overall total to 33 points, 16 of which are goals. With that mark, Rantanen sits at fourth on the team in points behind veteran core players Nathan MacKinnon (45), Matt Duchene (37) and Tyson Barrie (34).
Rantanen got the Avs off on the right foot early, scoring the first goal of the game, which set the stage for another rookie, J.T. Compher to add his name to the effort just six and a half minutes later. When the Oilers responded in kind to deadlock the game at two apiece, Rantanen once again gave Colorado the edge by breaking the tie four minutes later.
But after Rene Bourque gave the Avs the 4-2 lead at the end of the second period, everything completely spiraled out of control. The Oilers terrorized the Avs on offense, netting five goals overall with three coming in the last three minutes.
“I feel like every game, we lay down in the third period and we just gave up easy goals,” Rantanen said. “We gave four of them away.”
The Avs head to Edmonton to brave the Oilers once more with the hopes of a revenge tour and putting together the kind of complete game that has evaded them for much of the season. Puck drop is at 8 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on Altitude.