Avalanche’s Rantanen in concussion protocol, will miss game against Stars

Tempers flare between the Colorado Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers after Mattias Ekholm levels a huge hit on Mikko Rantanen, sending Rantanen to the locker room and Erik Johnson to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct.

DENVER — Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen remains in concussion protocol and will miss their game Sunday night against the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars.

It ends his streak of consecutive games at 161, which was the longest on the team. Rantanen’s absence is a blow for the Avalanche, who trail the Stars by three points with five games remaining. The 27-year-old Finnish forward has 40 goals and 62 assists this season.

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Rantanen left Friday’s 6-2 loss in Edmonton after taking a hit from Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm along the boards in the second period. Colorado coach Jared Bednar said Rantanen skated on his own Sunday. He’s listed as day to day.

“It’s always tough. He’s one of our top players,” Avalanche forward said Jonathan Drouin said. “Hopefully he gets healthy soon, but you can’t really replace a guy like Mikko.”

Colorado also will be without forward Miles Wood because of a lower-body injury. He is day to day, Bednar said Sunday after morning skate.

The Avalanche added depth up front at the trade deadline by acquiring Casey Mittelstadt, Brandon Duhaime and Yakov Trenin.

“When you’re playing top teams, you have to have depth,” Bednar said. “We’ve got good depth on our team. … The key for us is getting healthy and getting everyone in.”

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