(Photo : (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)) DENVER, COLORADO – DECEMBER 11: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates along with his teammates after scoring towards the Calgary Flames within the third interval at Ball Arena on December 11, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.
Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon picked up his second four-goal night time of the season on Wednesday, one other feather within the cap of his Hart Trophy case.
MacKinnon’s dominant show got here in classic vogue, with the Avalanche flashing their world-class prime stage expertise to roll previous the Washington Capitals.
The first two objectives for the Nova Scotia native got here in practically similar vogue on the facility play, as defenseman Cale Makar and winger Mikko Rantanen labored passes to one another to lull the protection to sleep earlier than hitting seam passes to a wide-open MacKinnon, who blasted a pair of one-timers dwelling to make it 2-0 and 3-0.
The third purpose of the night time for MacKinnon got here on a two-on-one with Rantanen, who dished the puck over to MacKinnon, who promptly carried the puck to the purpose mouth earlier than deking and roofing a backhander to make it 4-0.
MacKinnon added yet another for good measure within the third on a snipe off the bar for his fourth of the night time and thirtieth of the season, turning into the fifth participant this yr to hit the 30-goal mark.
Is this Nathan MacKinnon’s Most Dominant Season Yet?
The 2013 first total choose broke out as a rookie earlier than lastly breaking by as a top-of-the-line tremendous star within the 2017-2018 season.
His level totals since then go 97, 99, 93, 65 (in simply 48 video games), 88, and 111 final season.
Last yr’s profession excessive is in severe hazard this yr, as Wednesday night time’s effort gave him 82 factors in simply his forty eighth recreation of the season. That’s a 141-point tempo over a full 82 recreation season.
While he sits fifth within the league in objectives, he leads the league in assists and is second in factors, only one behind Tampa Bay winger Nikita Kucherov.
MacKinnon and Kucherov each make for nice MVP candidates, however what MacKinnon is doing this season to steer his Colorado crew ought to place him as the favourite.
Why MacKinnon’s Dominance Matters More This Year
When the Avalanche gained the Stanley Cup within the 2021-2022 season, their roster was completely loaded from prime to backside. There was no weak level on the roster, and their tremendous stars have been requested to steer the crew quite than drag it by the playoffs.
Two years later, the wage cap crunch has compelled the Avalanche to shed a lot of their superior depth expertise and lean closely on MacKinnon, Rantanen, Makar, and his working mate on protection Devon Toews to be on the prime of their video games each night time to select up wins.
In reality, MacKinnon has scored or assisted on 44.8 % of Colorado’s objectives, and regardless of their lack of depth, the Avalanche nonetheless lead the league in scoring.
Edmonton’s Connor McDavid will be the most gifted participant within the league, however MacKinnon’s one-of-a-kind ability set is correct there with him.
The outrageous burst, the fast cuts, and the arms to complete the possibilities in shut that his skating capacity generates for him are in contrast to something we have seen, to say nothing of his capacity to distribute the puck and shoot it from longer distances with laser-like precision.
If Kucherov can get Tampa Bay into the playoffs, he shall be a worthy MVP candidate, however barring an absurd late push from another person, it must be MacKinnon’s to lose at this level.
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