After missing the past 16 games with a lower-body injury, Mikko Rantanen returned with a bang to the Avalanche lineup. Rantanen scored a goal and added three assists in the Avs’ 7-3 win over Chicago. Rantanen was back in his usual spot with Nathan MacKinnon, who was just fine without Rantanen or Gabriel Landeskog. With Rantanen now back and Landeskog a possible return on their eastern road trip next week, Colorado will be one dangerous team to contend with going forward.
Joonas Donskoi might be the biggest benefactor of the Rantanen/Landeskog injuries. Donskoi scored two goals and added two assists of his own on Saturday, which gives him 14 points (6g-8a) in his past 11 games. You might get some more big production from Donskoi next week from the top line, but a Landeskog injury could push him back to a more secondary role. However, his most frequent linemates during the first quarter of the season were Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky, who have both already reached 20 points. So there might still be something there with Donskoi once everyone is healthy. It’s also possible that Jared Bednar breaks up the usual top line to keep Donskoi there, which would be amazing for his owners.
MacKinnon scored a goal and added two assists of his own, which gives him seven points over his last two games and over two points per game (24 points in 11 games) since November 7. Could he turn it up yet another level with the Avs getting healthy again? Is that even possible?
I suppose when Alex Ovechkin faces a team at the bottom of the standings, you start him. If you had the foresight to do so, Ovie rewarded you with a hat trick and an assist in the 5-2 win over the Wings. Not one, but two of the goals we