The Avalanche extended its points streak to 11 games (9-0-2) on Monday with a 5-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at Ball Arena. Fans will begin filing into the arena for the first time in more than a year on Wednesday as Colorado hosts the Arizona Coyotes for a club-record 17th home game in March.
Local front-line staff, health care providers and first responders will be the attendees Wednesday, and as many as 4,050 regular fans (22% of the arena’s capacity) will be allowed to attend Friday’s game against the visiting St. Louis Blues.
Five takeaways from Monday’s victory in which the Avs outshot the Ducks 48-15:
One fine Finn. Mikko Rantanen scored the Avs’ first goal — his NHL-leading 12th of the month. He was tied with living legendary scorer Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who has scored 11 of his 724 career goals in March.
“He’s a pretty good player like everyone knows,” Rantanen said of Ovechkin. “Obviously it’s nice to score some goals. It’s not the main reason why I go to games but I know I have to help the team on the offensive side so it’s nice to capitalize on some chances.”
Rantanen’s 12 goals are the most for an Avalanche player in a month since Milan Hejduk had 12 in February 2003. Joe Sakic holds the club record with 15 goals scored in March 2000.
Tough stuff. The Avs and Ducks traded punches in a chippy game and Colorado coach Jared Bednar liked how his team responded.
The Avs’ Pierre-Edouard Bellemare served nine penalty minutes and Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf had seven. Bellemare and Getzlaf traded glove punches midway through the first period and had a full-fledged fight midway through the third.
The Ducks’ Nicolas Deslauriers was sent to the locker room late in the third period with 10-minute misconduct after taking a roughing minor against Colorado’s Nazem Kadri.
“We’ve seen these guys a lot recently. That’s kind of how series are going,” Bednar said. “You start playing a team over and over and you get to know one another. There’s some bad blood I would say. I love the way our team responded.”
Grubauer gets 100th win. Goalie Philipp Grubauer needed just 13 saves to produce his 100th career win. He is just the second German-born goalie to reach that milestone, following Thomas Greiss (139 wins). Olie Kolzig, who was born in South Africa, leads all German goalies with 303 career victories.
Grubauer also is now tied with Tampa Bay’s Andre Vasilevskiy with an NHL-most 21 wins this season, and Grubauer’s 11 in March is a new club record.
Elite D. Avs defenseman Devon Toews logged a team-high 25:11 and tied center Nathan MacKinnon with a team-high seven shots. And Colorado defenseman Cale Makar had three assists and was a career-high plus-4.
Makar, who played in his 79th career game, has three or more assists in five career games. No other defenseman in NHL history has five games with at least three assists in fewer games.
Scoring spree. The Avs got goals from three lines, including two from the third line of center Tyson Jost and wingers Valeri Nichushkin and Joonas Donskoi.
MacKinnon’s first line with Rantanen and Gabe Landeskog had four points, bringing its total to 35 in the last seven games. Landeskog’s power-play goal was his team-high sixth of the season. It was also his fifth game-winning goal, tying Rantanen with the team lead.
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