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Mikko Rantanen, Avs open season with thumping of Kings

Mikko Rantanen had two goals and two assists, Nathan MacKinnon added a goal and two assists and the visiting Colorado Avalanche beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both clubs.

Cale Makar had a goal and an assist, Miles Wood also scored and Alexandar Georgiev turned away 34 shots for Colorado.

Carl Grundstrom and Quinton Byfield scored, while Cam Talbot made 30 saves for the Kings.

The Avalanche struck early in the first period. Jonathan Drouin got the puck along the boards and sent it down into the corner to Rantanen, who fed MacKinnon as he skated to the front of the net.

MacKinnon glided to his right and beat Talbot with a wrister to the far side at 7:25.

It stayed 1-0 until early in the second when Colorado cashed in on a power play. MacKinnon slid a pass to Makar at the point, and the defenseman hesitated before sending a screened shot past Talbot at 2:54.

The Avalanche went ahead 3-0 less than a minute later. Rantanen had the puck along the left boards, skated to the bottom of the left circle and beat Talbot with a high, sharp-angle shot at 3:47.

The Kings came back later in the second. Phillip Danault sent a centering pass to the front of the net and Grundstrom tipped it by Georgiev at 6:18.

Los Angeles cut the deficit to one with a late goal in the second period. Anze Kopitar won a center-ice faceoff that went straight at Georgiev. He knocked the puck to the right and Byfield’s pass attempt went off Makar’s stick and in at 19:55.

The Kings pressed for the equalizer early in the third, but Colorado withstood the charge and expanded its lead when Rantanen tipped Jack Johnson’s shot by Talbot at 4:59.

Wood sealed it with an empty-net goal at 16:08.

–Field Level Media

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