O’Connor opens up scoring in Avalanche win, Rantanen sets record

Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche left wing Brandon Saad (2) is congratulated by teammates Mikko Rantanen (96) and Nathan MacKinnon (29) after a goal against the Minnesota Wild in the third period during an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/KDVR) — Right wing Logan O’Connor scored first for the Colorado Avalanche in the 5-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.

Joonas Donskoi, Mikko Rantanen, J.T. Compher and Brandon Saad also scored for the Avs, which has won three straight and four of five to take the West Division lead.

Samuel Girard, Andre Burakovsky and Nathan MacKinnon had two assists as 10 players had points.

Philipp Grubauer made 19 saves for his NHL-best sixth win.

Matt Dumba scored and Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 28 shots for Minnesota.

In the first of four straight games between the teams, Saad scored on a one-timer in the third period for a 4-1 lead, his third straight multipoint game, and Compher later added his first of the year.

Rantanen gave Colorado a 3-1 lead early in the second period with his seventh of the season, weaving around two defenders, cutting across the slot and scoring from the left dot.

He is the first player in Avalanche/Nordiques history to score in the team’s first five road games and sixth NHL player to do so in the last 20 years.

Rantanen, who entered the matchup tied with four others for the league lead in goals, is now tied with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for top spot in the league.

O’Connor’s season debut goal was a long shot deflected off Kahkonen’s stick laying in the crease at 3:02 in the first. Dumba answered less than four minutes later with a rising wrist shot that went off the mask of Grubauer.

Donskoi scored on the power-play with 15.7 seconds left in the frame.

Defenseman Cale Makar recorded his 10th assist in his ninth game. Only John-Michael Liles reached the marker quicker in franchise history, needing eight games in 2010-11.

Erik Johnson left in the first period after getting crushed into the boards by Jordan Greenway. T

The teams face off Sunday night at 6 p.m. MST for the first time in back-to-back nights in the same building in their all-time history.