Rantanen, Landeskog and MacKinnon shine at All Star Weekend
The last time the Colorado Avalanche sent three players to the All Star Game was 2004 when Rob Blake, Alex Tanguay and Joe Sakic suited up in burgundy and blue to represent the team. Linemates Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog were selected to join their fellow Central Division players in San Jose this weekend.
MacKinnon, the Central Divison captain, was unfortunately sidelined with a bruised foot which he sustained during the team’s last campaign against the Minnesota Wild. Noted as a game-time decision, he opted not to play in the game or participate in the skills competition and instead, sipped coffee from a Tim Horton’s cup from the sideline as he assistant coached the Central team to a wild victory over the Pacific Division.
In the Central’s 10-4 victory over the Pacific, Avalanche wing Mikko Rantanen opened the contest with the first goal of the All Star Game. Placed on a line with teammate Gabe Landeskog and St. Louis’ (and former Av) Ryan O’Reilly, Rantanen was able to snipe a pass from O’Reilly on Pacific goaltender Gibson on his right side. Rantanen was able to score an additional goal in the first game against the Pacific and two more against the Metropolitan Division in the championship.
Gabriel Landeskog had himself a night playing the Pacific, recording the 2nd-ever hat trick in the 3 v 3 All Star format. O’Reilly let another pass fly to Gabe, who positioned himself perfectly in front of the net for the second goal of the game and his first of many on the night. As painful as it is to admit, O’Reilly played extremely well with the two Avalanche players despite the bitter relationship he left with the team. Landeskog recorded his goal just 30 seconds after Rantanen’s. The Avalanche captain recorded two more goals in the second half of the contest and was able to land himself a spot in the All Star Game MVP Vote.
The Colorado Avalanche line mates had an additional three goals in the Central division loss against the Metro, 10-5. The Central didn’t score a goal until the second half, when Landeskog opened up the scoring for his fourth of the night. Rantanen went on to score two goals in the second half.
Both players as well as MacKinnon truly proved their ability to dominate the NHL. The Avs players combined for eight of the 15 total goals scored by the Central and made sure everyone truly knew their names.