Rantanen, Lehkonen lead Avalanche past Flames 4-1

Jan 18, 2023, 7:42 AM | Updated: 11:00 pm
Colorado Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev, right, gets his stick on the puck before Calgary Flam...

Colorado Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev, right, gets his stick on the puck before Calgary Flames forward Blake Coleman can during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

              Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen, left, and forward Valeri Nichushkin, center, check Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023 in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Colorado Avalanche forward Evan Rodrigues, left, looks on as Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom deflects the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023 in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Colorado Avalanche forward Logan O'Connor, left, and Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm chase the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin, right, is checked by Calgary Flames defenceman Michael Stone, center, as they crash into Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Colorado Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev, right, gets his stick on the puck before Calgary Flames forward Blake Coleman can during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

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.”

MAKAR MISSING

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.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: At Vancouver on Friday night.

Flames: Host Tampa Bay on Saturday.

___

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