Nathan MacKinnon does not shy away from big moments. Hot take artists have thrown the all-star forward’s name around as someone contending with Connor McDavid for the title of best player in the league - and they might be onto something.
MacKinnon has been the key cog in the Avalanche’s system, leading the team to a 6-0-1 record that has established Colorado as the only team in the NHL without a loss in regulation.
The 24-year-old has four goals and 10 points this season. His latest tally was an overtime rocket that won the game against the Florida Panthers.
After receiving a perfect pass from Andre Burakovsky, MacKinnon rifled the puck straight into the back of the net. Not even fellow first-overall pick Aaron Ekblad had a chance of defending Colorado’s dynamic sniper.
Earlier in the matchup, Florida was the team with the unstoppable scoring touch. The Panthers opened the scoring with two goals in the first 10 minutes and finished the first period ahead 3-1. Two of those goals were courtesy of Jonathan Huberdeau.
With one of the top forward lines in the league, no game is ever over for Colorado. Burakovsky scored two game-tying goals in the third period, one of which eventually sent the game to overtime.
The Avalanche were known as a one-line team throughout the entirety of last season, but with the acquisitions of Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi, and the aforementioned Burakovsky, the squad’s offensive depth has improved. The latter two players finished the game with a combined five points.
Avalanche starter Philipp Grubauer bailed the team out with 40 saves on the night.
If they’re able to sustain this level of production, who knows what kind of heights this Colorado team can reach. I just feel sorry for the eighth seed that inevitably has to face them in the first round of the playoffs.
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