Colorado Avalanche: Series of Nathan MacKinnon Game-Winning Goals

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 15: Nathan MacKinnon
ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 15: Nathan MacKinnon /

According to the Colorado Avalanche, Nathan MacKinnon is the best choice for the Hart Trophy for team MVP — and we’re inclined to agree.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has been named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, chosen by the NHL Players’ Association for most outstanding player in the regular season.

However, since about December, we in Avs Nation have been on the Hart Trophy watch, which is awarded to the player judged “most valuable to his team.”

In an effort to prove MacKinnon is just that, the Colorado Avalanche Twitter account released a series of tweets highlighting Nate’s game-winning goals. Game winning goals = wins = points = making the playoffs 12 months after finishing dead last in the NHL by a wide margin.

That sounds like an equation for being most valuable to your team.

In any case, the first tweet points out that MacKinnon had 12 game-winning goals this season — which is the most this season:

The first game-winning goal came on October 28 against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Avalanche ended up beating the Sharks at Pepsi Center by a score of 6-3. MacKinnon’s rebound tally was the fourth goal of the game and one of three points for Nate (2 goals, 1 assist).

GWG #1:

The next game-winning goal came about two-and-a-half weeks later when the Colorado Avalanche traveled to Detroit to take on the once-rival Red Wings. In this game, Colorado came from behind to tie in the third, and MacKinnon scored the breakaway game-winner about halfway through overtime.

GWG #2:

Game-winning goal number three came three games later when the Avalanche hosted the Winnipeg Jets on November 29. Colorado and Winnipeg traded goals until they went into overtime tied at two each. The Jets went into OT on the penalty kill because of a too many men infraction. MacKinnon scored a power play goal withing the first minute of OT.

GWG #3:

The Colorado Avalanche had to wait until mid-December when they hosted the Florida Panthers to get another game-winner from MacKinnon, not that we’re complaining. Indeed, it was all MacKinnon in that game as he put Colorado on the board first and second, which was the game-winner in the 2-1 match.

GWG #4:

The next game-winning goal came a month later when the Avs traveled to Dallas to take on the Stars. Colorado beat Dallas 4-1, and MacKinnon got the second goal of the game in the third period.

GWG #5:

The very next game, when the Colorado Avalanche returned home to host the Anaheim Ducks, MacKinnon struck again. Colorado beat Anaheim 3-1, and Nate got goal #2. It was one of those skill shots by MacK in which the puck seems to have eyes.

GWG #6:

One game later, the Avs hosted the New York Rangers, another 3-1 game in Colorado’s favor. Truthfully, this goal and the whole game were very reminiscent of how the Avs beat the Ducks.

GWG #7:

The next game-winner didn’t come for a full month because, of course, Nathan missed a couple weeks with that shoulder injury. However, he was there when the Avalanche visited the Canucks in Vancouver. In this four-point night by MacK, the two teams went into overtime tied at four apiece. Vancouver took a penalty, putting Colorado on the power play. And MacKinnon scored his only goal of the game.

GWG #8:

A couple games later, MacKinnon beat the Canucks again, which is probably rude, but we don’t care. It was one of those 3-1 games. Nate scored two of the goals himself and assisted on the other one by Mikko Rantanen.

GWG #9:

Just a few days later, MacKinnon stuck it to every Avs fans’ hated team, the Minnesota Wild. This was the 7-1 game in March, not to be confused with the 7-2 game in January. During his five point night, Nate scored the second goal of the game on a first-period power play.

GWG #10:

We waited until mid March for the next game-winner when Colorado traveled to St. Louis. MacKinnon actually scored two goals in that game, with the second one being the decider in the 4-1 match. (MacKinnon also assisted on one of Rantanen’s two goals.)

#GWG #11:

Nathan MacKinnon’s final game-winning goal of the season for the Colorado Avalanche fittingly came in the final game of the season, again against St. Louis but this time in Denver. Of course, this was the game in which the two teams were fighting for the last playoff spot.

GWG #12:

Though this won’t be taken into consideration for the Hart Trophy, Nathan MacKinnon also scored a game-winning goal for one of the Avalanche’s two playoff wins:

The Colorado Avalanche Twitter made some further arguments for #MacKinnonForHart:

Stats don’t lie.

They also made a video:

The team media and the players said it best. While there are other deserving players, notably Taylor Hall, no one else has had quite as big an impact on his team’s success.

Next: Interpreting Sakic's Presser

If Nathan MacKinnon hadn’t had a breakout season, the Colorado Avalanche would have had a 70-something point season and no playoff berth. Twelve game-winning goals got them a 95-point season and the first round of the playoffs.

That’s most valuable player territory.