The Colorado Avalanche defeated the New York Islanders in overtime on Tuesday night, and star center Nathan MacKinnon notched three points (1 goal, 2 assists), including the game-winner. MacKinnon now has 20 goals and 41 assists on the season, and it is possible that he will lead the NHL in points by the end of the season.
Unfortunately, MacKinnon went a streak of seven games in November without a goal, although he did notch ten assists during that goal-less streak.
MacKinnon has been on a tear lately, recording 32 points since the beginning of December. He was just named first star of the month for December, notching 29 points (ha, how fitting!).
I think that MacKinnon has a real shot at leading the NHL in points going forward if he is able to stay healthy. Having new players on a line can be a real challenge and I think that the Avalanche’s switches throughout the early parts of the season had an effect on MacKinnon. He just was not finding the net but was still making his presence known with assists, which isn’t a terrible thing, but if you’re a star player on a team, you want to get in on that scoring action.
MacKinnon is in second place in the entire NHL in terms of points, trailing only Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
There is still so much hockey left to be played and the scoring leaderboards are going to adjust on a nightly basis. At the end of the day, Avs fans don’t really care who gets their points, just that they do get the points.
On a personal level, MacKinnon will say that it doesn’t matter if he leads the NHL in points—he just wants to do what it takes to help the Colorado Avalanche win as many games as possible. It would be a huge accomplishment if he is able to earn the Hart trophy, but his goals are set higher.