Nathan MacKinnon continues to solidify himself in Colorado Avalanche lore as he climbs the franchise scoring charts.
MacKinnon scored twice on Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets and now has 179 career goals, moving past Matt Duchene for eighth place in franchise history in tallies. Since the Avs moved to Denver in 1995, MacKinnon ranks fifth on the team's all-time list.
The center's third multi-goal game of the season also moved him up on the organization's scoring list. He now has 460 points in his NHL tenure, which surpasses Paul Stastny (458) for ninth-most in franchise history and fifth in Colorado's annals in scoring. Only Joe Sakic (1,015), Milan Hejduk (805), Peter Forsberg (705) and Alex Tanguay (488) have recorded more points in an Avalanche uniform (since 1995).
MacKinnon has spent his entire 496-game career with the Avalanche after being drafted first overall by the club in the 2013 NHL Draft. He has the most points among his draft class and ranks second in goals behind the Calgary Flames' Sean Monahan (184 in 512 games).
Both of his markers against the Jets tied the New Year's Eve contest. His first tally came from a flick of a wrist from the high slot midway through the first period, knotting the game at 1-1. His second goal was a one-time shot from the left circle after receiving a pass from Samuel Girard during a man advantage and evened the contest at 2-2.
Video: WPG@COL: MacKinnon wrists one through traffic
MacKinnon's second was his team-leading eighth power-play goal of the season and the 52nd of his career, passing Valeri Kamensky for sole possession of seventh on the franchise list (fourth in Colorado history).
Gabriel Landeskog also scored on the man advantage in the game as the team finished 2-for-4 in man-up situations. The Avs mixed up their special-teams units prior to the contest, and it seemed to work as the club scored multiple times on the power play for just fifth time this season.
"We haven't been good enough on that so we understand you have to switch it up when it's not working and that's what we did," said Mikko Rantanen. "And I think we found a way, as you could see right away, we were clicking, moving the puck and shooting more, so that's how we got two goals."
Video: WPG@COL: MacKinnon blasts one-timer for PPG
Despite recording double-digit shots in each period and outshooting Winnipeg 43-26 in the game, Colorado lost 7-4 on the final day of the 2019 calendar year. The Avs tied the score three times in the game, but the Jets pulled away for the victory after they scored four goals in the third period, including two empty-netters.
"We were playing well and then 4-on-4 we give up an odd-man rush off a turnover, and seven seconds into a penalty kill we give one up there off a deflection," said Erik Johnson. "We turned another one over, and it's in the back of our net. So, two odd mans, a power play and turnovers. You know, it's tough to play from behind when we clawed back to get even and then give one up right after that is tough."
Tuesday marked the 40th game of the season for Colorado, with the club owning a 23-12-4 record as it nears the halfway point of the campaign. The Avs are second in the Western Conference standings with 50 points.
For MacKinnon, he's in the hunt for the most goals and points in the league. In addition to leading Colorado in all three scoring categories, he ranks fifth in the league with 58 points and tied for fourth with 24 goals.
NEW YEAR'S EVE BASH
Colorado was hosting a game on New Year's Eve for the seventh straight year and the ninth time since moving to Denver. The Avs are now was 4-3-2 on the date on home ice.
The Avalanche has played on the final day of the calendar year 17 times, going 8-6-3. The Nordiques were 3-5-1 all-time on Dec. 31st.
Colorado finished the month of December with a 7-5-2 record, its third straight "winning" month after going 8-2-2 in October and 8-6-0 in November. The last time the Avalanche started a season with three straight months above .500 was in 2010-11.
MULTI-POINT NIGHTS FOR D
Girard and Erik Johnson found themselves on the gamesheet multiple times on Tuesday, as both players on the same defensive pairing finished with two-assist nights.
Girard's two helpers tied a career high and marked the second time this season (Nov. 30 versus Chicago) and the ninth time of his 195 NHL games that he's recorded multiple points in an outing.
Johnson registered his second multi-point game of the campaign after he also had two assists on Nov. 7 versus the Nashville Predators.