Nathan MacKinnon has reached another level, and right now, he’s the engine for the Colorado Avalanche.
The 28 year old superstar picked up four more points against the San Jose Sharks, extending his point streak to 15 games. That gives him the longest current scoring streak in the NHL. The four point nigh moves him into second place in the NHL with 47 points.
Jonathan Drouin picked up two assists, and Alexandar Georgiev stopped 26 shots, helping the Avalanche take down the Sharks by a score of 6-2.
The victory erases a little bit of the nasty taste left in everyone’s mouth after Saturday night’s stinker against the Jets. With the win, Colorado moves back into first in the Central Division, but they’ve also played more games than everyone else.
One night after a dud of a first period (and game), the Avalanche needed to come out with a bit more energy. They didn’t exactly do that, but they got some help from the Sharks.
Just 2:47 into the game, Jacob MacDonald hit Sam Malinski from behind into the boards, drawing some blood from the young defenseman. Malinski lost an edge right before going back, but MacDonald finished him pretty hard, drawing the five minute major and a game misconduct. Malinski left the game for a bit but did return.
Blessed with an early powerplay, Colorado had a chance to blow things open right away. For the first four minutes of the powerplay, it didn’t look so good. They moved the puck slowly, didn’t have a ton of energy, and generated nothing of danger. The fans in attendence even started to boo a little bit. Luckily, the team was able to break through and salvage the early powerplay.
Jonathan Drouin grabbed the puck at the right face-off circle, and sent a pass to the slot. It missed Mikko Rantanen’s stick, but landed right on Nichushkin’s, who re-directed the puck into the empty net. With the early one goal lead, Colorado could relax a little bit.
The Avalanche got another powerplay a few minutes later, as Mario Ferraro jumped Kurtis MacDermid after the big man destroyed Mike Hoffman along the boards. This powerplay looked much better, and capitalized again.
After some great puck movement for 90 seconds, Nathan Mackinnon got the puck at the left face-off circle. Mikko Rantanen outmuscled his man in front of the net for positioning, and MacKinnon lofted a pass towards him. The big Finn deflected it past Blackwood, making it 2-0.
San Jose did get a powerplay later in the periods, but Georgiev held strong, making a few saves off deflections around the net, and with under two minutes left in the first, Colorado went to work at even strength.
A nice pass in the neutral zone by Drouin hit Ross Colton entering the zone. It bounced a bit, which forced Colton to slow down, but he happened to see Miles Wood bursting into the zone behind him. He dropped it, Wood crashed the net, and sent a perfect shot over Blackwood’s left shoulder, making it 3-0.
The Sharks were still in a giving mood to start the second, and gave MacKinnon an early Christmas present 3:44 into the period.
Henry Thrun got a little too fancy trying to leave the zone, and just left the puck behind him, giving MacKinnon a break. His shot hit the post, but it bounced off Blackwood and into the net, giving Colorado the 4-0 lead.
The rest of the period wasn’t so pretty for the Avalanche. They registered just six shots on net, and took two penalties of their own. San Jose capitalized on one of those powerplays, with Tomas Hertl deflected a puck past Georgiev, but that’s all they would get.
Both teams looked content to play out the third period and get home safely. There wasn’t much pace to the period, and not a lot of stoppages either. Just a lot of up and down with. nothing dangerous happening. One goal changed everything.
Nine minutes into the period, Colorado got a nice bounce, and Ryan Johansen got a much needed goal. A Caleb Jones point shot hit the back of a Sharks defender, and rolled to the other side of the net. Blackwood lost it, and Johansen deposited it into the empty net, making it 5-1. It was Johansen’s first goal in nine games.
After MacKinnon was robbed on a breakaway, he took a slashing penalty out of frustration. Immediately off the face-off, Hertl scored his second of the game, beating Georgiev on a rebound. San Jose kept coming after that goal, but Georgiev made his best save on a Zetterlund deflection with his glove late.
MacKinnon added an empty netter, giving him four points on the evening, and giving Colorado the 6-2 win.
The Avalanche will now head to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks on Tuesday. That game starts at 6:30 PM MST.