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MacKinnon Joins All-Time Greats with Season-Opening Point Streak

Avalanche falls to Blues in first regulation loss of the year

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ST. LOUIS--If there is one thing that you can say about Nathan MacKinnon, it's that he's consistent. That has especially been the case at the start of the last two regular seasons.

MacKinnon scored Colorado's goal on Monday night at the St. Louis Blues to extend his season-opening point streak to nine games, the second straight year that he has done so. The Avs ended up losing the contest 3-1, which also ended their own eight-game point streak to begin the year (7-0-1).

"We just weren't very good tonight," said head coach Jared. "It looked like we didn't have our legs and lost too many races and too many puck battles. We weren't a connected group tonight."

While the Avs' point streak is over, MacKinnon's streak lives for another game. The center had the same such stretch last year with teammate Mikko Rantanen, as they both tied the Avalanche's record of registering points in each of the first nine games (John-Michael Liles, 2010-11).

Video: COL@STL: MacKinnon rips home wrist shot for PPG

For MacKinnon to do it in back-to-back years puts him in special company. He is the first player in franchise history (including the Quebec Nordiques) and only the fifth ever in the NHL to register season-opening point streaks of nine games or longer in consecutive campaigns.

Wayne Gretzky is the most recent player to do so, accomplishing the feat four years in a row from the 1982-83 to 1985-86. Fellow Hockey Hall of Famers Guy Lafleur (10 games, 1975-76; 10 games, 1976-77) and Rod Gilbert (nine games, 1971-72; 14 games, 1972-73) also achieved the mark, as did Charley Simmer (nine games, 1979-80; 13 games, 1980-81).

MacKinnon's marker was his fifth of the season and came on a 5-on-3 power play with 7:22 left in the first period. After appearing to stumble a bit at the left circle with the puck, the forward found his footing and fired a wrist shot from the high slot that went through traffic and hit the back of the cage.

He now has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) on the campaign, tied for the team lead with Rantanen (five goals, seven assists). MacKinnon has six points during the first five games of the club's road trip, including tallying the game-winning goal in overtime on Friday at the Florida Panthers.

That OT marker was the seventh of his career, tied for the second most in franchise history with Joe Sakic. Only Milan Hejduk has more (nine).

MacKinnon still has a ways to go to reach his career-long point streak, which is 14 games set from Feb. 24-March 22, 2018.

ZADOROV'S 300TH

Monday night's game marked defenseman Nikita Zadorov's 300th of his NHL career.

Selected No. 16 overall in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, Zadorov is in his fifth season in Colorado after being acquired in a trade on June 26, 2015. He has skated in 233 games with the Avalanche.

Zadorov, who was in the Avs' starting lineup alongside defensive partner Cale Makar, has three points (one goal, two assists) this year and has registered 65 points in his NHL career (19 goals, 46 assists).

RANTANEN INJURY

Mikko Rantanen left in the first minute of the second period with a lower-body injury and didn't return to the contest.

Colorado head coach Jared Bednar did not have an update on Rantanen's condition following the game.

"He wasn't good enough to continue tonight," Bednar said. "We'll just have to re-evaluate him in the morning and see what happens."

Rantanen is tied for team scoring lead with 12 points (five goals and seven assists) this season. He posted a career highs with 31 goals, 56 assists and 87 points in 76 outings last year.

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