PHILADELPHIA--It's safe to say that Nathan MacKinnon's "slow" start to the season is well past him.
MacKinnon recorded two assists and scored in the tiebreaker Saturday night to help the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-4 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
After recording just one goal and four assists in his first 10 games of the year, the Avs forward now has seven points (two goals and five assists) in his last three contests. He's recorded multiple points in each outing, the first time in his young career that he's achieved the feat.
"I felt good in previous games. Even tonight, I thought we had a ton of chances. I managed to get a couple," MacKinnon said. "You can't judge every game by points. You just have to stick with the process, and it's paying off."
The additional two points that MacKinnon did get on Saturday brings his season total to 12, which is tied for the team lead in scoring with defenseman Tyson Barrie and linemate Mikko Rantanen.
"He's playing great hockey right now," Rantanen said of MacKinnon. "He's one of the best skaters in the league. He's using his speed a lot. He's a strong guy. He's out-battling guys. It's great for our team to have that first-line center."
The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native's multi-point effort mirrors the Avs' current winning streak, which is now tied at a season-high three games. Colorado's stretch began last Saturday when MacKinnon tied a career high with three points (two goals and an assist) in a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. He then added two assists in Thursday's victory versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
Video: Nathan MacKinnon on the Avs win vs. the Flyers
MacKinnon found himself in the middle of the action again early in the contest in Philadelphia, as he helped create the game's opening tally. In the low slot, he fed the puck to an open Matt Duchene, who quickly unleashed a shot with 1.6 seconds remaining in the first period.
"I just saw him backdoor, and I knew if I got it over there he would have an empty net," MacKinnon recalled of Duchene's tally. "He managed to finish it off."
His next helper of the game, and ninth of the year, came on a rare 2-on-3 rush that saw Blake Comeau score shorthanded with 4:30 left in the second frame.
In the shootout, MacKinnon was the Avs' first shooter and tied the skills competition at 1-1 with a shot that beat Flyers goalie Michel Neuvirth under the arm. He is now 10-for-19 in shootout attempts in his career.
DUCHENE SUCCESSFUL IN PHILLY
Avs forward Matt Duchene continued his strong play in Philadelphia as he registered a goal and an assist on Saturday night.
Duchene now has six points (three goals and three assists) in six all-time contests at Wells Fargo Center.
"I liked his game tonight," head coach Jared Bednar said of Duchene. "He made some plays. He went to the net, protected the puck well. They got us a couple hardworking goals."
The center also added two shots, a hit and two takeaways while winning 9-of-17 faceoffs.
On the season, he has four goals and six assists after 13 contests.
11 & 7 LINEUP
The Avalanche was down two skaters Saturday night in Philadelphia with forwards Rocco Grimaldi and Matt Nieto both out with an illness.
Colorado didn't have any other healthy forwards on its active roster and had to use 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Flyers. The Avs used 12 forwards and six D-men during the first 12 contests of the year.
Re-entering the lineup was forward Gabriel Bourque and defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Bourque was activated from injured reserve after missing the last two games with an upper-body injury, while Zadorov had been a healthy scratch for the past three outings.
Bourque began the game on a line with Blake Comeau and Carl Soderberg, while Zadorov was on a defensive rotation with Andrei Mironov and Anton Lindholm.
BACK-TO-BACK CONTINUES IN BROOKLYN
The second half of the Avs' back-to-back weekend takes them to New York for a Sunday matchup with the New York Islanders.
It is the second of 11 back-to-back sets this season for the Avs, who will play one more on this road trip. They face the Ottawa Senators in consecutive nights in Stockholm, Sweden, next Friday and Saturday as part of the SAP NHL Global Series.
Colorado is 16-11-3 in 30 meetings with the Islanders since the franchise moved to Denver.
Game time on Sunday is set for 4 p.m. MT.