DENVER — Mikko Rantanen scored three times for his first career hat trick, Calvin Pickard stopped 27 shots and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Andreas Martinsen added a goal as the last-place Avalanche posted back-to-back wins for the first time since November. Even more, it's the first time all season they've won two straight at home.
Pickard picked up his second shutout of the season, withstanding a late flurry at the end. He also had an assist.
All-Star goaltender Carey Price wasn't sharp early, giving up two quick goals, and the Canadiens never recovered. This after routing Colorado 10-1 on Dec. 10 in Montreal.
The Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens are 1-4-1 over their last six games.
Rantanen finished off his hat trick at 6:01 of the third period when he scored on a 5-on-3 advantage. The crowd tossed a few hats onto the ice in celebration.
The 20-year-old Rantanen made it 3-0 at 13:10 of the second when he tipped in a shot from defenseman Mark Barberio, just recently claimed off waivers from Montreal. Before the move, Barberio spent the season shuffling between the Canadiens and their American Hockey League affiliate.
Amid trade rumors, the Avalanche played one of their best periods of the season, scoring twice in a 1:55 span during the first. Rantanen scored on a hard shot from the right side 30 seconds into the game and Martinsen added another on a play set up by an assist from Pickard.
Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene have been constantly mentioned in trade speculation with the team well out of the playoff picture. First-year coach Jared Bednar is trying to keep it out of the locker room — and his players' heads.
"They've been working on narrowing their focus on the task at hand," Bednar said.
NOTES: Canadiens D Nathan Beaulieu played in his 200th NHL game. ... Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla appeared in his 1,524th game, tying Brendan Shanahan for 14th place on the career list. ... D Tyson Barrie (lower body) and forward Rene Bourque (head) remain sidelined. ... D Erik Johnson (broken leg) is skating, but there is no timetable for his return. He was hurt Dec. 3 while blocking a shot against Dallas. ... LW Matt Nieto limped to the locker room favoring his right leg after blocking a shot in the third period. ... Nathan MacKinnon, Barberio and Landeskog each had two assists.
Canadiens: At the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.
Avalanche: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.