Rantanen scores twice in the 3rd period to lead Avalanche past Jets 6-3 and into the 2nd round

Updated May. 1, 2024 2:37 a.m. ET

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Mikko Rantanen scored his first two goals of the playoffs in the third period, leading the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night that clinched their opening-round playoff series in five games.

Rantanen, who also had an assist, scored twice in a span of just under four minutes early in the third period to snap a 3-3 tie.

“That’s the best hockey we’ve played for five games in a row all season long," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "And that’s what it takes this time of year, and that’s partly our experience, I think,”

Valeri Nichushkin, Yakov Trenin, Artturi Lehkonen and Josh Manson also scored for the Avalanche, who will play the winner of the series between the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights.


Nathan MacKinnon and Devon Toews each had two assists, and Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves for Colorado.

“I thought the first couple periods we were maybe a little bit too cautious,” Georgiev said. “But in the third, we knew they would try to open it up (and) we scored a big goal, the fourth one, and kept playing smart. Very, very solid effort.”

Kyle Connor, Josh Morrissey and Tyler Toffoli scored for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26 shots.

“In the (last) two years, that’s by far the best playoff game we’ve played,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said. “It didn’t go our way tonight. Couple goals went in off of us. We had some chances that we didn’t score.

"Where was that in the first four games? That’s a question we’re going to have to answer ourselves over the course of the summer.”

The game was tied at 1 after a fast-paced first period and Colorado led 3-2 heading into the third.

Toffoli tied it at 3 for the Jets, who won all three meetings during the regular season. But Rantanen scored his first goal of the game two minutes later at 4:11 to put the Avalanche up 4-3. He added his second goal at 8:01.

Manson shot into the empty net with 2 seconds left to cap the victory for Colorado, which finished three points behind Winnipeg in the Central Division. It was the first time the teams faced each other in the playoffs.

Winnipeg became the first team in NHL history to allow five or more goals in each of its first five games to begin a postseason. The Avalanche outscored the Jets 28-15 during the series, including four empty-net goals.

“You work all year to give yourself an opportunity,” Morrissey said. “We had a great regular season. Out in five, it’s pretty disappointing.”

With the game tied at 1 in the second period, Trenin got his first goal and point of the series when his shot hit the post and he regained the puck and flipped it into the net at 5:42 to give Colorado a 2-1 lead.

Winnipeg went on its first power play a minute later and Morrissey’s one-timer from the point blew past Georgiev 14 seconds into the man advantage.

Lehkonen made it 3-2, but it came when Jets defenseman Neal Pionk inadvertently knocked the puck into the net with his stick with 6:15 left in the second.

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