Colorado Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon’s Magical November

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Nathan MacKinnon
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Nathan MacKinnon /

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon often plays some of his best hockey in November. He certainly had a strong showing this November.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon seems to be coming into his own. Indeed, after the recent Avs victory against the Winnipeg Jets — during which MacKinnon recorded a goal and an assist — color announcer Peter McNab remarked that they were watching a 22-year-old become the cornerstone of a franchise.

MacKinnon leads the team with 28 points (8 goals, 20 assists), and he’s second only to captain Gabriel Landeskog in goals.

So much of his magic has happened in November. After the November 25 game against the Calgary Flames, MacKinnon was the first player since 2006 Joe Sakic to earn 20 points in 10 games.

In fact, in his After Hours interview, MacKinnon remarked that he historically has good Novembers. The best month of his 2015-16 season was November (14 points in 14 games), and the best month of his 2014-15 season was November (12 points in 13 games.)

MacKinnon said of the phenomenon:

"“I just think that you’re kind of getting used to [playing hockey] in October… I’ve always liked liked November, even in juniors — it’s fun. You get the cheesy mustache going. I guess I need to continue that all season, my numbers in November.”"

Here’s the After Hours interview — MacKinnon talks also about about his linemates, his acting “career,” and his continuing friendship with Sidney Crosby.

So, let’s talk about Nathan MacKinnon’s favorite month, November. In November of 2017, MacK has recorded 20 points in 12 games — 5 goals and 15 assists. He’s had seven multi-point nights — including a five-point night (1 goal, 4 assists) against the Washington Capitals.

Interestingly, even though MacKinnon is on the first power play unit, only one of those goals was with the man-advantage. He got six power play assists, though.

Nathan MacKinnon also has two game-winning goals in November, both of them coming during overtime.

One of the game-winning overtime goals came against the Detroit Red Wings. MacK scored the goal about halfway through the extra frame:

MacK seems to make it a habit of skating past the captain in his celebrations. Nonetheless, that was a beautiful snipe of a shot.

The other game-winning overtime goal was also MacKinnon’s only power play tally. It came in last night’s win over the Central Division rival Winnipeg Jets in the first minute of OT:

More from Mile High Sticking

That’s a nice example of threading the needle by Nathan MacKinnon. As you hear, McNabb and fellow announcer Mike Haynes observe that MacK is putting up “clutch” numbers, and that’s part of what makes him so special.

As MacKinnon said in his After Hours interview, it’s all about keeping the magic going past November. In this month, he averaged 1.6 points per game. The Colorado Avalanche have 59 more games. If MacK keeps up that pace, he’d record 94 more points for a total of 122. That’s a dazzling number.

We haven’t seen a player record triple digits since Joe Sakic in the 2006-97 season — and he topped out at 100. And we’ve never seen a player record 122 points — the closest was Joe Sakic in the inaugural 1995-96 season with 120 points.

Next: All Kids Line Holds Promise

Well, there’s no guarantee MacK will record so many points. However, I think all Colorado Avalanche fans are hoping he is, indeed, becoming the cornerstone of our franchise.