The Colorado Avalanche won their second straight game tonight, beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-0, powered by a Mikko Rantanen hat-trick
The last time these two teams met, the Canadiens shot themselves out of a cannon, taking an unheard-of 6-0 lead in the first period. Tonight, it would be the Avalanche who would get off to the hot start—though, to a much lesser degree. Just 30 seconds into the game, Mikko Rantanen skates into the Montreal zone and put a somewhat unlikely shot on net. Whether it was a Nathan MacKinnon screen (or his own defender), all-world goaltender Carey Price never picked up the puck and Rantanen would score his ninth goal of the year to put his team up 1-0.
The Avalanche wouldn't wait long to score their second either. After playing the puck in the Colorado zone, goalie Calvin Pickard scooted the puck over to Francois Beauchemin, who made a quick outlet pass up-ice (I know, right?!) to Andreas Martinsen for a two-on-one odd-man rush with Joe Colborne. The Norwegian Legion hesitated just long enough to fool Price into thinking pass and then buried a wrist shot five-hole to go up 2-0.
The third goal of the game would come during the second period; and to everyone’s surprise, it would, again, be scored by the Avalanche. Mark Barberio, recently acquired from Montreal off the waiver wire, would get a bit of revenge, blasting a shot from the point toward the Canadiens’ net. No, he wouldn't score, but he would serve it up perfectly for Rantanen to deflect downward for his second goal of the evening, putting Colorado up 3-0 headed into the second intermission.
During the third period, Gabriel Landeskog drew a penalty, and about a minute later, Jerome Iginla would draw another when his stick was snapped in two. That gave Colorado about 40 seconds with a two-man advantage, which would turn out to be all the time Mikko Rantanen would need to score his third goal of the evening. He beat Price short side, blasting a one-timer sent through the slot by Nathan MacKinnon. With 11 goals now on the season, he is just one behind MacKinnon for second on the team. Rantanen is also the second Avalanche rookie to record a hat trick, and the first since Marek Svatos did twice His first season.
The Avalanche will now go for three straight when they welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Pepsi Center on Thursday.