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The Colorado Avalanche, falling out of playoff contention, seek 'reset' to end losing skid

Jan. 13—Mikko Rantanen has found it difficult to keep his frustration inside lately.

The Avalanche winger — amid a seven-of-eight-game losing streak — has uncharacteristically barked at officials on several occasions. Arguing against momentum-changing calls that have contributed to the team's slide. But not anymore.

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Rantanen, in a heartfelt dressing room chat Friday with reporters, took ownership of a needed change that could apply to all his teammates during this skid.

"It's probably better to just try to stay cool," Rantanen said. "It's just tough when you lose games and those things happen, when you disagree, obviously. It happens quick. I think the best way from here on out, for myself, us leaders and the whole team, is just to leave the refs (alone).

"Just try to focus on what we can do."

But where to even start?

The Avalanche, now a .500 team (20-17-3), are unable to pinpoint one fix to turn it around. They can't finish chances with a meager 8.6 shooting percentage at even strength this season. Their power play, once leading the NHL, is a miserable 1-for-25 since Nathan MacKinnon's return to the lineup. American League call-ups like forwards Ben Meyers and Martin Kaut have failed to produce points.

Colorado still can't catch a break with injuries. Forward Darren Helm rejoined the list after the Thursday loss in Chicago; reaggravating a lower-body problem that held him out to begin the season. And, while injured players Valeri Nichushkin, Josh Manson and Bowen Byram skated Friday before practice, none are expected to be back soon.