Nathan MacKinnon sparked the Colorado Avalanche's comeback by factoring on three goals and helped the team get a point in the standings.
The Avs center scored the 200th goal of his career and added two assists as the Avalanche rallied from being down 2-0 early in the first period on Tuesday night. Colorado ended up losing 5-4 in a shootout after the Arizona Coyotes staged their own comeback at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Colorado started the game off slow and fell behind on the scoreboard, but MacKinnon and linemates Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen helped turn the tide as the club tallied four unanswered markers to take a 4-2 lead in the third frame.
MacKinnon, who is on a season-long, seven-game point streak, had the primary assist on Landeskog's power-play tally with 5:13 remaining in the first period and on Rantanen's goal 4:02 later to knot the contest at 2-2.
His own marker came from a one-timer in the high slot, taking a pass from Samuel Girard. The blistering shot beat Arizona goaltender Adin Hill while Landeskog was providing traffic in front with 11 seconds left in the second period.
Video: COL@ARI: MacKinnon scores 200th NHL goal late in 2nd
"We get the power play, and the top unit steps up and gets us the first goal and then that kind of gave us some life and got going again," said head coach Jared Bednar postgame of MacKinnon's contributions. "The goal where we get low to high and [MacKinnon] pops in a hole in the middle of the ice and scores; he's in some big plays in the game to help us get moving in the right direction."
MacKinnon's goal was his 10th of the season, and he became the eighth player in franchise history and fifth in Avalanche history to reach the 200-goal plateau. Only Joe Sakic (391), Milan Hejduk (375), Landeskog (208) and Peter Forsberg (202) have more tallies in a Colorado uniform since the team moved from Quebec City in 1995.
Selected No. 1 overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, MacKinnon is the second player from his draft class to reach the milestone. The Calgary Flames' Sean Monahan beat him to it, but MacKinnon accomplished the feat in 15 games fewer as he scored his 200th in his 552nd game while Monahan had his in his 567th contest.
Among active players in the NHL, MacKinnon is the fifth youngest to reach the 200 mark, doing so at 25 years and 203 days. Since entering the league in the 2013-14 campaign, he ranks 11th in the NHL with 530 points (200 goals, 330 assists) in 552 games.
His offensive impact was certainly felt on Tuesday, as he helped the Avalanche get back into the contest against a hungry Coyotes squad. It was the Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native's fifth game this year with three points, and his third over the last four outings.
"After that start, we're probably fortunate to get a point, but Nate has a big part in that comeback, for sure," Bednar said.
Goaltender Jonas Johansson stopped 28 shots as he made his Avalanche debut on Tuesday. It was his 14th career NHL game.
Acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft, Johansson only had a couple skates to get acclimated with his new team before being thrust into action. The Avs were playing the second half of a back-to-back after defeating the Coyotes 5-1 on Monday.
On Tuesday, Arizona scored on two of its first three shots, but the Avs said those two goals were more a result of the team's poor defensive positioning in front of Johansson than the goalie's play.
"Those first two goals are on us. I felt bad putting him in that position," said Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog. "It's his first game with a new team, and I'm sure he was excited to play but also a little nervous. Unfortunately we got behind off the start, but I think he settled in and made some big stops in overtime."
Johansson stopped all three shots in faced in the OT period, including one on a breakaway by Phil Kessel, a six-time 30-goal scorer.
"It's good to get Jonas in net," Bednar said. "I thought he did some real good things for us at times tonight. There's probably one or two that he would like to have back, but he comes up with those big saves in overtime to give us a chance to continue that and go on the power play and also the shootout.
"He had a little bit of a tough luck, but I liked his work ethic and I liked some of the things he did. He's only going to get better as he settles in and gets more comfortable with our team."
The shootout was the Avalanche's first of the season and the third of Johansson's career.
Logan O'Connor returned to the Avs' lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past two games and played on the right side of a line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Matt Calvert.
He replaced J.T. Compher, who had skated in the previous two outings after missing the seven games prior with an upper-body injury.
"With the back-to-back after [Compher] missing some significant amount of time, and just wanted to get some fresh legs in and Logan has been doing a great job for us," Bednar said of his lineup decision. "[O'Connor] came in and had another good night tonight. So we're going to have some tough decisions every night if we stay healthy with our forward group because I find all 13 of those guys are contributing and helping us win hockey games."
Rookie defenseman Bowen Byram was unavailable to play as he is reportedly out with a lower-body injury.
"As far as I know it's day-to-day, but we'll know more when we get home," Bednar said.
Dan Renouf entered the lineup in Byram's absence, beginning the contest on a defensive pairing with Ryan Graves.
The Avalanche had its winning streak end at seven games, but the team still picked up a point for an eighth straight outing. Colorado has earned a point in 11 of its last 12 contests.
The Avs' winning streak was their longest since a 10-game run from Dec. 29, 2017-Jan. 22, 2018.
Several players extended their own individual point streaks, as Nathan MacKinnon (five goals, eight assists) and Mikko Rantanen (seven goals, six assists) have points in seven straight contests. Gabriel Landeskog (three goals, eight assists) is on a six-game point streak, while Valeri Nichushkin (two goals, two assists) has points in three consecutive contests.
Landeskog now has multi-point outings in three of his last four games and assists in six straight contests, a new career-best streak for helpers. His previous best was two five-game runs, the last of which was Dec. 2-11, 2018.
MORE POSTGAME NOTES
It was the sixth meeting between the Avs and Coyotes this season, and Colorado is now 4-1-1 against Arizona.
The Avalanche has scored a goal in 20 consecutive periods, a new franchise record. Quebec scored in 18 straight periods from Oct. 8-21, 1992 and Colorado equaled that with 18 consecutive frames from Nov. 6-16, 1996.
Colorado finished 1-for-4 on the power play and is 5-for-14 with the man advantage over its last five contests (35.7 percent).
Mikko Rantanen registered his team-leading 19th goal of the season and now ranks third in the NHL in goals this campaign. He has scored 11 goals in March, which leads the league for the month (Joe Sakic had 15 in March 2000). It's the second-most goals scored by an Avalanche player in March since the club moved to Denver and tied for the third-most in any month since 1995-96.
Devon Toews equaled his career best with seven shots on goal (also: Nov. 5, 2019 vs. Ottawa).