04/20 01:16 CDT MacKinnon helps Avs to 4-2 win over Wild
MacKinnon helps Avs to 4-2 win over Wild
AP Sports Writer
DENVER (AP) --- Teenager Nathan MacKinnon is growing up fast. Almost as fast as
The speedy 18-year-old delivered another stellar performance for the Colorado
Avalanche, scoring his first NHL postseason goal and dishing out three assists
in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
The baby-faced forward, who was the No. 1 pick last summer, anchored a line
that has propelled the Avalanche to a 2-0 lead in the series. MacKinnon, Gabe
Landeskog and Paul Stastny combined for all four goals and six assists Saturday.
"That line was on fire tonight," Avs coach Patrick Roy said. "They were moving
the puck really well, skating well."
That's because the Wild simply couldn't catch up to MacKinnon, who zipped
through their defense. He now has seven points in the series.
"The skills he's got, the way he skates --- I haven't seen anything like it,"
said Landeskog, who scored twice.
MacKinnon lives in the basement of Jean-Sebastien Giguere's house and car pools
to work with the backup goaltender every day. And while he may not play like a
kid, away from the rink, well, that's a different story.
"You realize he's 18," said Stastny, who had a goal and three assists. "He's
hungry, that's what makes him a good player. He doesn't rely on his skill."
The kid has certainly been clutch --- and having a good time, too. He's feeling
"Everybody's having a blast because we're winning," MacKinnon said.
A game the Avalanche seemed to have well in hand turned a little tense late in
the third. P.A. Parenteau thought he'd given the Avalanche a 4-1 lead when he
scored an empty-net goal.
Only, he was ruled offsides by the linesman on what appeared to be a wrong call.
Then with 1:19 remaining, Marco Scandella made it a one-goal game.
No worries, though, Stastny quickly sealed it in the waning seconds remaining
when he scored an empty-netter --- off a feed from MacKinnon, of course.
Not that the Avs were overly concerned, given the way Semyon Varlamov was
playing. He finished with 30 saves.
"He was huge," Stastny said. "That's stuff we expect from him. We feel bad we
let them score that second one."
Landeskog's second goal of the game gave Colorado a 3-1 lead with 8:01
remaining in the second and led the Wild to pull erratic starter Ilya
Bryzgalov. Backup Darcy Kuemper stopped all 14 shots he faced, possibly opening
up a goaltender controversy.
This was the first time Kuemper's played since March 27 due to an upper body
Asked if he will be starter as the series shifts to Minnesota for Game 3 on
Monday, Kuemper said: "I'll have to wait and see, but I hope so. It's playoff
hockey, so you want to play."
Wild coach Mike Yeo didn't address the issue after the game, saying only,
"(Kuemper) looked great. ... So for him to get in and get that opportunity, it
Varlamov bottled up the Wild most of the night to help Colorado hold serve at
home. The Avs are 12-0 in playoff series when capturing the first two contests
since relocating to the Mile High City in 1995-96.
In the opening game, Colorado rallied for a 5-4 win when Stastny scored the
tying goal with 13.4 seconds remaining and then the OT winner.
This time, no late-game theatrics were necessary. No bold decisions by coach
Patrick Roy, either.
Roy kept the line of Landeskog, Stastny and MacKinnon together. No surprise,
really, since the trio shined since being paired late in Game 1.
"That was the story of the game," Yeo said of that line pairing.
Bryzgalov struggled in both games in Colorado, giving up eight goals on 45
Concerned about his game?
"What exactly you mean by concerned by your play?" Bryzgalov said.
Say anything to Kuemper?
"No, I just tell him great job," Bryzgalov said. "He ... sealed the door."
The Avalanche have adopted the motto "Why not us?" this season, putting the
mantra on shirts, ball caps and even flashing it on the scoreboard. The slogan
took root when Roy posed that question when he first came on board. It was
taken to heart in October after former Avs defenseman Ray Bourque addressed the
team at his restaurant in Boston.
"This motto became pretty big and something we started to believe in," Maxime
Talbot said. "So, why not us?"
NOTES: Wild F Charlie Coyle gave the Wild an early 1-0 lead with his second
goal of the series. ... Colorado will likely be without its leading scorer Matt
Duchene (knee) for this series. ... MacKinnon tied the NHL record for most
points in the opening two playoff games to start an NHL career.