Mikko Rantanen's 7th career hat trick leads surging Avalanche past Blues 4-3


ST. LOUIS — Mikko Rantanen scored three goals to lead the surging Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.

“It feels good to help the team and to get the win with it. It’s always better when you win,” Rantanen said. “I try to help the team offensively and be responsible defensively.”

Rantanen scored a goal in each period for his seventh career hat trick and first since April 6, 2023, at San Jose. He had 37 goals this season and 14 points in his last six games.

“It felt like today, when he got a chance today in the house, he let it go,” coach Jared Bednar said of Rantanen. “He got rewarded for it.”

Casey Mittelstadt also scored for the Avalanche, who won four straight on their current road trip and their seventh straight overall. Colorado has outscored its opponents 31-13 during the streak. Colorado’s win streak is the longest active run in the NHL. Justus Annunen made 30 saves.

“This is one the best stretches we’ve seen them play all year long,” Bednar said. “Tonight’s game wasn’t perfect. I thought we had some trouble managing the puck tonight. We’ve been going through games without turnovers and tonight we had more than a handful.”

Nathan Walker, Alexey Toropchenko and Brayden Schenn scored for St. Louis, which had its four-game win streak halted. The Blues, who are sixth in the Central Division, are four points out of the second, and final, wild-card spot behind Vegas. Jordan Binnington had 31 saves.

Ratanen’s third goal put Colorado up 4-3 at 4:15 of the third period. Pavel Buchnevich turned the puck over in the Blues’ end. Valeri Nichushkin nabbed the puck and found Rantanen in the slot and he quickly scored what proved to be the winner.

“We can’t be turning the pucks over in that area of the ice, especially when we’re not under any pressure in that position,” interim Blues coach Drew Bannister said. “We’ve got to make a better play.”

Both teams scored twice in the second period and were tied at 3 heading into the third.

Driving to the net, Toropchenko outmuscled Zach Parise for the puck by the crease and scored his 14th goal, giving St. Louis a 2-1 lead at 4:44.

Mittelstadt evened it 2 when he scored his 16th goal at 6:41 on a wrist shot from the left circle.

A 2-on-1 rush ended with Schenn’s 15th goal at 8:43, giving St. Louis a 3-2 lead. Jake Neighbours picked off a pass by Rantanen and sent a cross-ice pass to Schenn, who beat Annunen.

A tripping call on Jordan Kyrou led to a power-play goal by Rantanen at 18:46 to tie the game. Parked just outside the crease, Rantanen used his stick to deflect a shot by Jonathan Drouin past Binnington.

“It’s a bad penalty,” Bannister said. “It’s a penalty you can’t take at that time of the game.”

Each team scored in the first.

Rantanen gave Colorado a 1-0 lead at 6:36 when he scored from the slot after getting a pass from Nathan MacKinnon. It was MacKinnon’s 75th assist this season. He has a 16-game point streak, with 32 points (10 goals and 22 assists).

St. Louis made it 1-1 on a goal by Walker, who scored on a wrist shot from the left circle at 8:48.

“Definitely would have been nice to get the two points, but I think we have to keep our heads up high, walk out of here and back to work tomorrow,” Walker said.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: Host Columbus on Friday.

Blues: Play at Ottawa on Thursday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl



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