Avalanche Skate: Rantanen On Powerplay, Landeskog, And Slumping

Colorado Hockey Now

Mired in a nine game goalless drought, Colorado Avalanche star forward Mikko Rantanen was in a surprisingly good mood on Monday morning.

The Finnish winger spoke to the media for a handful of minutes, cracked jokes, and seemed to be in a good place. Does that mean the drought ends tonight? If I was making predictions, and I’m very bad at those, I’d say yes, but I also have no idea what the lines are set up to be tonight.

When discussing the cold powerplay, Rantanen noted that he did hit the crossbar on their first attempt Saturday night, but admitting it hasn’t been perfect. Not just recently, but all season.

“Powerplay is also about finishing chances, and I think all year we haven’t been really good at that,” he said. “We try to improve every day at it, and just try to work hard on it to be better, because it’s 30 games almost. We had a had streak, but just need more consistency.”

While Rantanen is in a slump right now, he hasn’t forgotten how to score goals. After all, in 89 total games last season, he scored 62. That doesn’t just disappear overnight.

He knows the goals will eventually come, and that dwelling on what has already happened doesn’t help anyone.

“You can’t be thinking about the past too much because tonight is a new chance to play a good game,” Rantanen said. “It’s tough. It also rubs you the wrong way mentally, but that’s when good players, great players, you’ve got to stick with it. You can’t fold, you can’t quit because nothing is going your way, you know? And then sometimes when you’re on a hot streak, you don’t even play that well and then you get two goals off your ass, basically. It goes like that sometimes.”

Rantanen held court to several media members, and did so while straddling his own locker stall and the stall of Gabriel Landeskog, who sits next to him.

Landeskog, of course, is back in town, and sounds like he’ll be here for the foreseeable future.

And the team loves that.

“Very nice,” Rantanen said. “It’s just good to have him around the meetings, and in the room. Just good to see him every day. Obviously, our biggest leader since I’ve been here. Just really good to see him and good to see he’s doing well.”

Other News And Notes

  • Josh Manson (injury) and Joel Kiviranta (illness) did not take morning skate, but neither were ruled out for tonight. Manson is “dealing with something” and is considered day-to-day, but the Avalanche didn’t confirm if it was an upper-body or lower-body issue.
  • Ryan Johansen started the last game on the fourth line, although he ended up playing more than the previous games. Bednar didn’t give too much detail as to how he came to that decision.
    • “Just kind of trying to make some lines that work, and make sense, and that’s where he fell on that particular night.”
  • Alexandar Georgiev will start in net for the Avalanche.
  • Your guess is as good as mine as to what the lines will be for the Avalanche tonight. After the last few games, it’s impossible to predict, and we all know there’s a good chance the lines change after a period or two.
  • Dan Vladar is expected to start for the Calgary Flames.
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