The Colorado Avalanche played host to the Minnesota Wild for Game 2 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals matchup and, after giving up an early first goal to the Wild, the Avs’ first line has put on an absolute clinic against Minny.
Eighteen-year old phenom and last year’s overall pick Nathan MacKinnon, who had three assists in the Avs’ Game 1 win, put Colorado on the board with his first career playoff goal…and, boy, was it a DOOZY.
MacKinnon used his jets to rocket right through the middle of the Wild defense, breaking a poor Jared Spurgeon’s ankles before sniping on Ilya Bryzgalov. It is certainly one of the better goals we’ll see this postseason.
Here’s a look in GIF form:
Then, MacKinnon went back to the assist sheet when he was able to stick-handle down the middle (once again) and leave a drop pass for 21-year old Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog, who was able to fire a quick wrister past Bryz to give the Colorado the lead.
But they weren’t done there. Paul Stastny, who had the clutch game-tying and game-winning goals during the Avs’ Game 1 comeback victory, got in on the action with the Avs’ third goal. MacKinnon fed Stastny, who delivered a pinpoint no-look pass to set up Landeskog’s second goal of the night.
Maybe more impressive than Stastny’s assist was the way MacKinnon played the puck to himself in the neutral zone. Watch as he receives the pass through his legs and off the boards without missing a beat before toasting the Wild defender with blazing speed for his fifth assist of this postseason.
MacKinnon added another assist on a Paul Stastny empty-netter in the game’s final minute, bringing his point total to seven. He’s the first 18-year old to have six assists in a playoff year, and he did it in TWO games.
With the Avalanche bringing some of the most exciting hockey we’ve seen in these young Stanley Cup playoffs so far, it’s easy to forget that they’re missing one of their best players in Matt Duchene, who’s currently out with a knee injury and isn’t expected to return this round.