After a disappointing opening night, Nathan MacKinnon has Colorado back on track with a two-game winning streak entering the second game of a back-to-back set Thursday night at Los Angeles.
MacKinnon had two assists in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory as the Avalanche held a commanding advantage through two periods before things got dicey as the Kings rallied late.
In the end, Colorado not only celebrated the victory, but MacKinnon was able to celebrate the 500th point of his career. He now has 191 goals and 309 assists in 528 games since his rookie season of 2013-14. The No. 1 overall selection in 2013 became the first member of his draft class to reach 500 points.
MacKinnon, who led the NHL in shots each of the past two seasons, now has at least one shot in 223 consecutive games — four behind Joe Sakic’s franchise record.
There’s a good chance MacKinnon’s next shot will come on the power play. The Avs converted two power-play opportunities in the second period Tuesday while opening a 3-0 lead. Colorado has scored on eight of its first 17 power plays this season.
“Our power play has stepped up the last two games and we need that to keep rolling,” MacKinnon said, referencing Friday’s 8-0 romp over the St. Louis Blues as well.
The Kings remain winless after three consecutive one-goal defeats that were all heartbreaking in their own way. After opening the season by blowing a pair of 3-1 leads in the third period at home to the Minnesota Wild, the Kings put together a late rally against the Avalanche that fell just short.
Andreas Athanasiou and Adrian Kempe each scored third-period goals for the Kings, but they were unable to push through over the final 5:38 for the tying goal.
In his first year with Los Angeles, Athanasiou became the first Kings player to score goals in each of the first three games of a season since Wayne Gretzky (first four games) in 1988-89.
If the Kings want to celebrate a victory Thursday, and not just a goal-scoring feat, cutting down on penalties would be key. They have 18 penalties in three games and had four in the second period Tuesday when Colorado scored its two power-play goals.
“I think five-on-five, we can play with anybody, just like any other team in this league,” Athanasiou said. “So it’s staying disciplined out there, trying to stay five-on-five as much as possible and just keeping the flow going.”
–Field Level Media