Mikko Rantanen returned to the lineup for the Avalanche on Saturday and played an integral role in their dominating 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Missing the last 16 games after suffering a lower-body injury on Oct. 21 against the Blues, the 23-year-old winger put together a four-point effort in the landslide win — and he only played two periods.
With a goal and three assists through two periods, Rantanen’s night was over as the team took a sizable 7-2 lead into the second intermission.
His goal came on the tail end of a gritty fight to keep the puck in the attacking zone. After dishing the puck backhanded to Samuel Girard, Rantanen found the soft side of the net and was in the perfect position to redirect the rebound off Girard’s shot.
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Now with six goals and 11 assists — three of which came Saturday on goals by Nazem Kadri, Nathan MacKinnon and Joonas Donskoi — Rantanen has at least one point in all but one game this season. Saturday marked his first four-point game since Dec. 11, 2018.
The team has not confirmed the reason for his early exit. Going into the second intermission, though, Rantanen said, “I feel good and the team is playing well, so it’s easy to hop back in.”