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Avalanche Room: MacKinnon Surprises Himself With 50, Breaks Down Record Goal



Avalanche MacKinnon

I’ve seen a lot of special performances from Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon, but Tuesday night might have been one of his best.

A few days after their coach ripped into them for their defensive lapses, MacKinnon put the team on his back at both ends of the ice, putting on a performance that his coach could hardly find the words to describe. Jonathan Drouin played a big part in his 50th goal, a milestone MacKinnon never thought he’d reach. After the game, he explained what happened on the goal and whether or not he called for the puck.

I think you all know the answer to that.

Hear what MacKinnon and Drouin had to say, and read Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar’s thoughts after his team pulled out the 5-2 win over the Wild.

Nathan MacKinnon

MacKinnon on if he called for the puck on the 50th or if that was Drouin’s instincts with the pass:

“I think both. He’s looking for me, and I’m letting him know I’m there, because it is kind of a weird re-entry…definitely calling for it, though.”

Jonathan Drouin

Bednar on if he ever thought MacKinnon could hit 50:

“I’m not surprised he got 50. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing some really special performances, right? That was pretty much as dominant a performance as you could have, in my books. We didn’t talk anything about offense over the last couple days, so when I was watching Nate play, I was just watching how dialed in he was going to be on the defensive side of it, and he was dialed in. It’s important for your top guys to take the message that we’re selling to the team, and then lead by example in that, and he did that. And because of the way he defended, he comes up with these rush opportunities. I’ve seen him be fast out of those holes before in the d-zone and explode through the neutral zone, but tonight it was at a whole new level…I just thought it was a stellar performance, special performance.”

Bednar on why his Avalanche playing defense can lead to offense:

“When you’re checking the puck back and the other team is trying to score on your end, when you check it back they’re in an offensive posture, generally not in a defensive posture, and when you’re checking it back quickly, you’re going to play with the puck more and be able to go on the attack more. It’s just that simple. We did a nice job. 5-on-5 tonight, you’d have to look through the scoring chances, I don’t want to give you a number, but it’s low, low, low. Lowest of the season, for sure, maybe lowest in the last five seasons, 5-on-5.”

Bednar on Georgiev’s performance:

“Exactly what we needed to see.”

Bednar on Jonathan Drouin’s growth with the Avalanche and if he takes pride in that:

“I do. You want to see the best version of what they can be, and it could have been misguided like when players get drafted at 17. They’re comparing them, always trying to compare them to the best guys in the league, right? The reality of it is, those guys are elite, generational guys. Somewhere in there, there’s a version of them that can be highly effective at whatever it is that they do well, and that’s what we try to get out of our players. The better they are at reaching their ceiling, the better team they’re going to be. I still don’t know what Drouin’s ceiling, but he’s making a pretty nice case for himself that he’s a really well-rounded, high-skilled 200 foot player, because the trust that we have in him as a staff to be able to play against other team’s top lines every night, regardless of whether or not that was with Nate or without Nate, he’s handling it really well.”

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