The line of Gabriel Landeskog (27 goals, 24 assists), Nathan Mackinnon (26 goals, 40 assists) and Mikko Rantanen? (20 goals, 48 assists) has been dominant this season, but with the Colorado Avalanche struggling it may be time to split up the trio, at least for a bit.
“That would probably be a good thing, too,” agreed MacKinnon. “Good to spread it out. We tried it at home for a few periods and it was OK … but, yeah, it’s definitely something that we should try in the future especially if we don't win here.”
MacKinnon notes that other Avalanche lines absorb most of the defensive-zone draws allowing his group to stay on the attack and put up some gaudy numbers. He also points out that Carl Soderberg and Alexander Kerfoot are trending toward 50-point seasons so there are good options to mix and match throughout the lineup. And Colorado could use a shake up having lost nine of 10.
So, why is Jared Bednar staying the course by keeping his top weapons together?
"They like playing together," the Avalanche coach explained. "They’re excited about playing together every night. They put a lot of responsibility on themselves. It’s been working for us at times. We've broken them up and used them with some other linemates during games and sort of shuffled lines around, but we keep coming back to those guys as a group … they've played some more shifts away from each other recently, but I still like playing them together.
“They’re one of the best lines in the league if not the best line in the league. If we’re going to get out of this thing we’re going to lean on those guys heavily and that’s what we’re intending to do here.”
After losing 3-0 to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, Bednar says his team has reached the “put up or shut up” moment in the losing streak.