Avalanche wrap up six-game trek vs. Golden Knights
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The Colorado Avalanche conclude their longest road trip of the season with a Nevada Day holiday matinee against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday in Las Vegas.
It's the sixth game of an 11-day trip that crossed the majority of the country for the Avalanche, beginning with a 6-3 win at the Washington Capitals on Oct. 14. Colorado paid visits to Pittsburgh, Florida, Tampa Bay and St. Louis, where it sustained its first regulation loss of the season with a 3-1 setback to the Blues on Monday night.
The Avalanche flew home to spend a few days in Colorado before flying to Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon. The Avalanche opened the season with a 7-0-1 record before the loss to the Blues, ending the second-longest season-opening point streak in franchise history. They went 9-0-2 to start the 2000-01 season.
One player who won't be making the trip to Las Vegas is right wing Mikko Rantanen, who left Monday's loss early in the second period with a lower-body injury.
Rantanen, who had a career highs in goals (31), assists (56) and points (87) last season, is tied with linemate Nathan MacKinnon for the team scoring lead with 12 points (five goals, seven assists).
"Just see how he progresses over the next few days I think is a big thing," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said, when asked how long Rantanen could be sidelined following practice on Wednesday. "I can tell you I don't think it is going to be a four-to-six week injury. We are hoping he is going to be back significantly sooner than that. But we are going to just watch it and see."
"It (stinks), MacKinnon said. "He is one of the best players in the NHL. When you lose one of the best players in the NHL, it's tough. We're not going to replace him, but he got hurt last year and we found a way to get some wins. Hopefully we can weather the storm until he gets back."
Bednar said they will re-evaluate Rantanen early next week.
"Mikko's a freak," MacKinnon said. "He'll be back I'm sure sooner than later. We need guys to step up, including myself."
MacKinnon, who scored the lone goal in Monday's loss, has scored a point in all nine games for the Avalanche, tying the longest streak in team history to start a season. He also accomplished the feat last season, joining Wayne Gretzky, Charlie Simmer, Guy Lafleur and Rod Gilbert as the only players in NHL history to record a season-opening point streak of at least nine games in consecutive seasons.
Vegas opens a four-game homestand after winning two of three contests on a road trip that started with a 3-0 win at Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Golden Knights rebounded from a 6-2 loss at Philadelphia two nights later before posting a 2-1 shootout victory at Chicago on Tuesday.
The Golden Knights are 3-2-0 at T-Mobile Arena this season, including a 3-2 shootout win over Ottawa in their last home game on Oct. 17.
"Every game we play, our fans are showing up excited," said defenseman Shea Theodore, who scored in the shootout at Chicago.
"It's always fun to play in front of our home crowd. (Colorado) has a lot of highly skilled players. They play fast, and they can make you pay. We have to really try and put our best game together."
-- Field Level Media
Updated October 24, 2019