Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon scored a filthy goal to tie the game against the Florida Panthers.
The Colorado Avalanche have come to rely on their young alternate captain. Nathan MacKinnon is just 22 years old, but he has taken up the reins of on-ice leadership.
MacKinnon is also starting to show why the Avalanche selected him first-overall in 2013. He leads the team in points with 33. That includes leading the team in goals, 11, and assists, 22.
What’s more, MacKinnon is really showing off that skill and speed that had been so in evidence his rookie year when he won the Calder Trophy but that had been largely absent since then.
Well, last night in a 7-3 victory over the Florida Panthers, MacKinnon put on a show to score the second goal of the game. The Colorado Avalanche were down 2-1, and they had been hemmed into their own zone for a large part of the second period. They needed something to change.
The play starts with MacKinnon in the Avalanche’s zone. The puck comes to MacKinnon. He sort of bats at it like he doesn’t intend to do anything except maybe dump and chase. In fact, he’s a little flat-footed on his own blue line.
Well, I don’t know if MacKinnon saw a channel open up, but he seems to suddenly decide he’s actually going to walk the puck into the zone. He gets it on his stick, and nothing anyone does is going to get it back off. What’s more, they’re not going to stop him from waltzing into the zone:
More from Mile High Sticking
- Could Colorado Avalanche move on from Pavel Francouz next offseason?
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- Colorado Avalanche make sneaky signing with Tatar
- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could return in 2023-24 playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche rookie face-off tournament roster
To their credit, the Panthers players did try. Alexander Petrovic has MacKinnon in his sightline. Michael Haley also comes in to hassle MacKinnon from the back. Mike Matheson also pinches in to try and stop MacK.
None of it works. MacKinnon dangles the puck around their sticks and splits the defense. Then it’s just him and goalie James Reimer.
Reimer is ready for him, but Nathan MacKinnon’s shot is a laser. He doesn’t even bother to deke the goalie. He just beats Reimer with his accurate shot.
MacKinnon is so determined that you see captain Gabriel Landeskog go in to help him and then just skate out of his way. Indeed, MacK pert near broke Matheson’s ankles on that play.
That’s a highlight-reel goal if ever there was one. In fact, even the NHL Twitter account was impressed:
It’s even showcased prominently on the NHL.com website. This comes just over a week after the NHL named MacKinnon first star of the month for November.
Like I said, that’s the Nathan MacKinnon we’ve all been wanting to see and that the team has needed. He now has three goals and two assists in the last two games. If Nate can stay hot, it’s good news for the Colorado Avalanche.