For Mikko Rantanen and the Colorado Avalanche, what a Finnish. I’ll be here all week.
Mikko gets the hat trick in his first NHL game ever in his home country of Finland, and the Avalanche win 6-3 in a weird game at Nokia Arena in Tampere. Rantanen’s fourth career hat trick was needed, as the Avalanche blew a 3-0 lead for the second straight game but finished with three straight goals in the third to get back over the .500 mark at 5-4-1.
Rantanen’s empty-netter sealed the victory, while Nathan MacKinnon had four assists, and Cale Makar got his first goal of the season.
“Got some good passes today from the guys, so was able to score,” Rantanen told the NHL Network after the game.
Rantanen had his name chanted from the stands at the end of the game.
“I had some goosebumps on the bench,” Rantanen said.
My own further thoughts and observations on the game:
- Avalanche got outshot 39-36, but a lot of those Columbus shots came on the power play. The Avalanche let the Jackets get back into the game after taking that 3-0 lead by taking too many penalties. The Blue Jackets hadn’t scored on the power play all season, but against Colorado’s still-lackluster PK unit, they got their first as part of a comeback to tie it 3-3.
- The Avalanche did do a nice job on a key four-minute double minor assessed to Dryden Hunt in the third.
- A turning point of the game: Johnny Gaudreau hit the post that would have given Columbus a 4-3 lead. Avalanche scored not too long after on the power play, with Rantanen getting the marker.
- Alexandar Georgiev (36 saves) kept it a 5-3 game with a breakaway save on Patrik Laine.
- Andrew Cogliano escaped serious injury, as noted earlier.
- Valeri Nichushkin didn’t play, but it sounds like there’s a chance he could play tomorrow against Columbus.
- Puck-line bettors on the Colorado Avalanche had to be happy.
- Cale Makar looked more like his normal self today, including getting that goal. He had a goal, assist and plus-2 in nearly 27 minutes of ice time.
- In addition to giving up 39 shots, the Avalanche had to block 18 shots today too. Makar led the team with four.
- This game came close to going the other way. I hope the Avalanche learned something of a lesson today about keeping the foot on the gas. Letting teams back into games has been a troubling trend so far.
- “All The Small Things” was played in the third period.
- Alan Roach, Avalanche public announcer, worked the game from Finland.
- The game was blacked out locally for Comcast subscribers.
- Avalanche had another bad day in the faceoff dot, winning only 29 of 81 draws (36 percent).
- Nicolas Aube-Kubel was placed on waivers by the Maple Leafs today. Should the Avalanche put in a claim?