Colorado Avalanche: Landeskog and Rantanen Dominate All Star Games

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 26: Mikko Rantanen #96 and Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche pose prior to the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game at SAP Center on January 26, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 26: Mikko Rantanen #96 and Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche pose prior to the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game at SAP Center on January 26, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Two Colorado Avalanche forwards, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landesog, dominated in the two games they played for the Central Division at the All Star Game.

The Colorado Avalanche top line dominated the two games they played. Well, two-thirds of the line did. Star center Nathan MacKinnon is still healing from taking a puck to the foot while blocking a shot in the game against the (hated) Minnesota Wild.

That said, MacKinnon did get in on the fun. He got to play captain for Team Central Division:

At one point, he pulled to goalie super-early, and the Metropolitan team scored. But he did his job. 😁

In any case, no telling how much fun he would have had getting the job done on the ice lining up with his linemates who tore it up. Gabriel Landeskog earned seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) in the two games, and Mikko Rantanen earned six points (4 goals, 2 assists).

That’s very impressive. Three of Landeskog’s goals came in the first game, which was against the Pacific Division — a hat trick, in other words. Our captain has gotten into the habit of scoring those in the last couple years. Four of his points came against the Pacific, while three of Rantanen’s (2 goals, 1 assist) came in that game.

Since MacKinnon was behind the bench, Landeskog and Rantanen had to line up with someone else. Ironically, that someone else turned out to be former Colorado Avalanche Ryan O’Reilly.

Landeskog’s and Rantanen’s stellar performance helped Team Central Division advance to the finals. Alas, despite their continued domination (1 goal, 2 assists for Landy and 2 goals, 2 assists for Rants), a poor performance from arch nemesis Devan Dubnyk cost the game for the Central. (Need I mention he was on Team Central for being a Wild player).

Anyway, of course the game didn’t count — well, the winning team split a $1 million pot, so that’s something. Though his team didn’t win, Landeskog had fun.

Part of the fun came from chirping each other. Rantanen said of Landeskog after the game:

"“I just wish he would have scored on that tap-in that would have tied the game 1-1 in the first period. You’re going to have to go ask him what happened there and why he didn’t bury that. It would have probably been a different game.”"

All in good fun as Rantanen admits, “We were probably competing against each other a little bit.”

Landeskog took some of the blame onto his own shoulders:

"“Mikko and I have played together for two years now, and we know what we got with each other. He was complaining that I gave him a bad pass on that 2-on-0, but he still put it (top) shelf anyways. He’s used to those kind of passes from me.”"

He saved his chirping for the opponent star, Sidney Crosby:

"“They had a well-rested Sidney Crosby on the other side. He didn’t show up to the skills competition yesterday but he looked fresh out there.”"

Crosby bowed out of the Skills Competition due to an unspecified illness, but he did participate in the game.

Meanwhile, Rantanen turned his chirps on MacKinnon. He said of his coaching, “It was good.” But he added, “He was actually doing good for the first time.”

The goals the pair scored were glorious. The All Star Game took place as a three-on-three play for two periods of 10 minutes each.

Here’s Landeskog’s entire hat trick in the first game:

That second goal alone had us wondering what it would take to get O’Reilly back. And that third goal, when Landeskog channeled the magic of his people and our retired superstar to score Peter Forsberg style! Pure magic.

Let’s appreciate a couple of Rantanen’s goals. Here he is opening the scoring for the entire All Star Game:

That was also his first shift of the game.

This sequence is one of only ffive goals Team Central scored against the Metro (I say only because Metro scored 10 — five on Dubnyk alone in the first period):

If we can’t get O’Reilly back, maybe we can get Roman Josi?

dark. Next. All Star Weekend a High-Tech Affair

Ok, ok, back to reality. Landeskog, MacKinnon, and Rantanen now head off on vacation as the Colorado Avalanche are on a bye-week. The Avs will return to action on February 2 when they host the Vancouver Canucks.

I think it’s safe to say all Colorado Avalanche fans hope the trio bring the magic of the All Star Weekend home with them.

Side note: Tyson Jost scored two goals in the Colorado Eagles game that same night, both power play tallies.