The Colorado Avalanche have been without superstar Mikko Rantanen for the last two games after the Finn was concussed on a hit from Edmonton Oilers D-man Mattias Ekholm back on April 5.

But the 27-year-old is likely to return to the lineup for Saturday's afternoon tilt against the red hot Winnipeg Jets, Avs head coach Jared Bednar confirmed.

“Mikko's probable for tomorrow,” the bench boss said, according to's Ryan Boulding. “We'll see in the morning.”

Rantanen was a full participant in practice on Friday, although he was skating on the second line with Casey Mittelstadt and Valeri Nichushkin. He's usually joined at the hip on the top line with Hart Trophy favorite Nathan MacKinnon, and as of late, Jonathan Drouin.

The Avalanche could be looking to spread out their offense as the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs approach, but of course, the two will still share the ice on the top powerplay unit.

Rantanen has been excellent again in Denver this season; the Stanley Cup champion has amassed 40 goals and 102 points in just 77 games — good for eighth in the National Hockey League. Before the ailment, he had skated in 161 consecutive games, per Boulding.

He continues to be a driving force of one of the better offensive groups in the NHL, and he'll be a crucial piece if the Avalanche hope to bring a second championship in three seasons to Colorado come June.

Avalanche gearing up for postseason

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8) and defenseman Jack Johnson (3) react with goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) after the game against the Minnesota Wild at Ball Arena.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After getting upset in Round 1 by the Seattle Kraken in 2023, the Avalanche are looking to make another deep run this time around. Two campaigns ago, Colorado marched out of the Western Conference before dashing the Tampa Bay Lightning's hopes of a three-peat.

The Avs beat the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues in the first two rounds before sweeping Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final.

A thrilling Stanley Cup Final hung in the balance after the Bolts beat the Avalanche in a potential series clincher in Denver for Game 5, but the roster got the job done in Game 6 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

It was Colorado's first championship since 2001 — the days of Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg — and the organization has its sights firmly set on another title in 2024.

That's especially true after Mittelstadt and former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Sean Walker were acquired by GM Chris MacFarland ahead of the NHL trade deadline.

Now 49-24-6, the Avs are tied with the Jets for second-place in the Central Division, both five points back of the first-place Stars with a game in hand. Thus, Saturday's game is absolutely critical, with the loser likely to finish third-place in the division — meaning no home ice advantage in the first-round.

“The Avs and Winnipeg both have 104 points with three games to go. Whoever wins at Ball Arena will be in the driver’s seat to take second in the Central Division and have home-ice advantage in their likely Round 1 showdown. Dallas has 109 points, so either team catching them for the division title is real long-shot,” wrote Denver Sports' Will Petersen on Friday.

The Avalanche will be looking for three more great games to ensure they begin the postseason on home ice. And that task will become a ton easier with Mikko Rantanen back in the lineup.