If you haven’t been tuning into the Avalanche vs Wild series, tonight would be the perfect night to begin. Colorado currently has a two games to zero lead in the series, and looks to add another one tonight in Minnesota.
The big story thus far, in case you haven’t heard, has been the play of Nathan MacKinnon. As a rookie, he tallied 24 goals and 39 assists for 63 points while helping the Avalanche to 112 points and a second seed out West. But his play this far in the postseason? It has been unbelievable.
In game one for the Avs, MacKinnon began paired up with Ryan O’Reilly and P.A. Parenteau. He was responsible for the primary assist on O’Reilly’s second period goal which tied the game 2-2. Very late in the third, as the Avalanche were down 4-3, MacKinnon once again acted with poise and maturity, making an impressive play behind the Minnesota net to find Eric Johnson, who immediately put the puck on net which resulted in Stastny’s tying goal with about 13 seconds left to play. In overtime, it would be MacKinnon picking up his third assist on another smart and beautiful play where he found Stastny for the OT winner.
Let’s not forget that MacKinnon is only 18 years old. He’s been in high pressure situations before, but he has been mature beyond his years playing for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tallying three assists in your first NHL playoff game is something to be proud of.
In game two, MacKinnon miraculously topped his game one performance. In this game, seeing more ice time with Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog, MacKinnon managed to pick up his first postseason goal, and another three assists. On his goal, which is embedded below, MacKinnon made something out of nothing and beat four Wild players by himself with his quick hands and feet.
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MacKinnon’s play with Landeskog and Stastny featured unbelievable tic-tac-toe passing, and plays which could make your jaw drop. He’s made players such as Ryan Suter look like an amateur defender, all the while building the confidence levels of Avalanche players and fans.
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This kid is special, and his skills are undeniable. But if you happen to have a moment tonight to see some magic, tune into this game and watch him play. You certainly won’t be sorry that you did.