Sports Rantanen's hat trick lifts Avalanche past Predators 6-2
Kadri, Rantanen register three-point nights as Avs down struggling Canucks 4-2
VANCOUVER — A woeful penalty kill was once again the undoing of the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. The team gave up three power-play goals — including two in the third period — en route to a 4-2 loss at home to the Colorado Avalanche. “It’s a bit of a broken record, I’m sure," said Canucks defenceman Tucker Poolman. "Just every game it’s a play here or there and it happens to be on special teams one way or another. But we’ve got to stick with it as a group here, play hard for each other and just keep grinding.” Vancouver came into the matchup with the worst penalty kill in the league, weathering just 62.
DENVER (AP) — Mikko Rantanen had a hat trick and an assist, Bo Byram scored in his return to the lineup, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Nashville Predators 6-2 on Saturday night.
It was Rantanen’s first hat trick of the season and the third of his career.
Cale Makar had three assists, but his goal-scoring streak ended at five games. He has seven goals and five assists in the last six games. Jonas Johansson had 26 saves for Colorado.
The Avalanche put pressure on Nashville goalie David Rittich from the outset, holding a 14-4 advantage in shots and a 2-0 lead after the first period.
Montreal Canadiens snap 4-game slide with 6-3 win over Nashville Predators
MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens embark on a three-game road trip with a much-needed boost of confidence. Montreal exploded for four goals in the second period and held on to win 6-3 against the Nashville Predators Saturday to snap their four-game losing skid, despite giving up a third-period hat trick to Matt Duchene. Ryan Poehling, with two, Artturi Lehkonen, Christian Dvorak, Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli, into the empty net, scored for Montreal (5-13-2). Toffoli, Jonathan Drouin and Chris Wideman picked up two assists each. Head coach Dominique Ducharme thought his team returned to their roots of playing a solid game without being too flashy.
Rantanen gave Colorado a 2-0 lead with a pair of power-play goals in the first. He completed the hat trick with his 10th goal of the season at 15:12 of the third period.
Luke Kunn got the Predators within 2-1 when he tipped a shot from Eeli Tolvanen at 4:44 of the second, but Byram’s redirection of Landeskog’s pass restored the two-goal lead at 6:14 of the second.
Byram, a 20-year-old rookie defenseman, missed the last six games after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head against Vancouver on Nov. 11.
Valeri Nichushkin scored his fifth of the season at 6:42 of the third period for Colorado.
Rittich finished with 30 saves.
Former Avalanche player Matt Duchene scored his 12th goal of the season at 16:28 of the third. Tyson Jost completed the scoring for Colorado with his second of the season at 18:55.
Hurricanes' Ethan Bear enters COVID protocol
In the second season of a two-year, $4 million deal signed in 2020, Bear will be looking for another raise this offseason when he hits arbitration-eligible restricted free agency. His current back-loaded deal means he’ll be owed a $2.4 million qualifying offer, and strong play could even have him in line for a multi-year extension.With that in mind, any absence from the lineup is a notable one, as the Hurricanes will have to look elsewhere for Bear’s minutes on the back end. Because he is a confirmed positive case, if he experiences any symptoms, he’ll miss a minimum of 10 days.
BROTHERS AT ARMS
Gabriel Landeskog and Mattias Ekholm have been teammates for Team Sweden, but that was put aside Saturday night. Ekholm and Landeskog went at it late in the second period after Landeskog drove the net and slid into Rittich. Ekholm grabbed him and dragged him away from the net. A scrum developed and Landeskog went after Ekholm, landing punches as Ekholm went down to the ice.
Landeskog, who had two assists in the win, got a 10-minute misconduct and two instigator penalties while Ekholm received an unsportsmanlike conduct minor.
NOTES: Colorado D Ryan Murray suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return. ... Predators C Mikael Granlund had an assist to reach 400 points for his career. ... The Avalanche have scored 38 goals in their last seven home games and have gone 6-0-1 in those games.
Predators: Host Columbus on Tuesday night.
Avalanche: Begin a five-game trip in Toronto on Wednesday night.
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Michael Kelly, The Associated Press
Matthews scores three, Leafs thump Avalanche 8-3 for 15th victory in 17 games .
TORONTO — The Maple Leafs knew there were plenty of built-in excuses. Just back from a California road trip, the jet lag had yet to lift, bodies were tired, and it had been more than a week and a half since the luxury of a day off — all with one of the NHL's hottest teams waiting on deck. None of it mattered. Auston Matthews scored three times to register the fourth hat trick of his career as the scorching Leafs thumped the Colorado Avalanche 8-3 on Wednesday night. John Tavares added a goal and two assists for Toronto (17-6-1), while William Nylander scored and set up another. Jack Campbell made 28 saves. "Really good effort from everybody," Matthews said.