Nathan MacKinnon is an 18-year old NHL rookie playing in his first playoff series. Don’t tell that to Nathan MacKinnon.
Last night in Game Two against the Minnesota Wild, MacKinnon put on a show, scoring his first NHL playoff goal and adding three more assists. Here’s a video package of all four points:
Goal #1 (0:00-0:22): MacKinnon receives the pass just inside his own blueline and then bursts through the neutral zone, fighting off a stick check, before making Jared Spurgeon fall down and then roofing the puck past Ilya Bryzgalov. This was the #1 highlight on SportsCenter Top Ten and is the first of many career playoff goals for the kid.
Goal #2 (0:23-0:41): Landeskog’s snipe was great, but once again it was MacKinnon’s speed and maneuvering through the neutral zone that backed up the defenders. From there he recognized that Landeskog had a better shooting opportunity, dropped it off, and Landy did the rest.
Goal #3 (0:42-1:11): Paul Stastny’s pass was a thing of beauty, but it was MacKinnon who once again made things happen. Tyson’s Barrie’s cross ice pass in the neutral zone wasn’t great, but MacKinnon tipped it between his legs and to himself before going through a weak stick check, bursting by Spurgeon, and finding Stastny inside the circle. Stastny’s behind the back pass to a wide open Landeskog, who easily put the puck into the open net, was brilliant, but it doesn’t happen without MacKinnon.
Goal #4 (1:12-1:33): Prior to this goal, Stastny missed the wide open net from about 10 feet out, but MacKinnon got the puck in the zone, fought off a hold from Mikko Kiovu, and then dished it to Stastny, who didn’t miss this time. At 18-years old, MacKinnon shook off a 31-year old man who has been in the league since 2001.
In two playoff games, MacKinnon has 7 points. It’s Nathan MacKinnon hockey world right now, everyone else is just skating in it.