Monster hit from Mattias Ekholm takes out Mikko Rantanen.

Monster hit from Mattias Ekholm takes out Mikko Rantanen.

Mattias Ekholm takes out one of the Avalanche's top forwards just a few short weeks before the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Jonathan Larivee

If the Edmonton Oilers were looking to send a serious message to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender on Friday night, then Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm delivered it in a major way.

On Friday night, during a game between the aforementioned Oilers and Colorado Avalanche, Ekholm was involved in an incident that could prove to have significant playoff ramifications for both of these teams.

During the early moments of the game's second period, Ekholm would deliver a devastating hit to Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen. Rantanen never saw Ekholm coming but in spite of that the Oilers defenseman showed him no mercy, exploding into his hit and leaving Rantanen laying down on the ice.

Here's a look at the hit from multiple angles:

Although it is too early to tell what kind of injury Rantanen suffered as a result of the hit, there was no question that he was rocked. Rantanen could barely stand on his skates with the help of a trainer and, even as he was being assisted off the ice, he was unable to maintain his balance under his own power as he wobbled his way unsteadily off the ice.

As you can see from this replay of the live broadcast, it took Rantanen some time to get off the ice:

There's no need to explain how losing a player that already has 102 points this season could have huge playoff ramifications for the Avalanche. It could also end up having big playoff implications for the Oilers, who could potentially face the Avalanche during their own run through the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs.