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MacKinnon calls his outburst toward coach on Avalanche bench unacceptable

Center was visibly upset with Bednar in final minute of loss to Flames

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Nathan MacKinnon said his outburst on the bench during the Colorado Avalanche's loss to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday was unacceptable and said he and coach Jared Bednar have moved on from it. 

The center was visibly upset with Bednar after Calgary scored an empty-net goal with 10 seconds left in the third period to secure a 5-3 victory. 

"I can't be doing that stuff. Just frustrated," MacKinnon said after practice at Bell Centre on Friday in preparation for the Avalanche's game at the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, ALT, NHL.TV). "I think we've lost eight of nine and I think [Flames forward Matthew] Tkachuk just scored the empty-netter and I was just really frustrated. I love playing for [Bednar]. Everyone loves playing for [Bednar] in here, and that's on me and I take responsibility for it."

The Avalanche (20-16-8) hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference but are 1-6-2 in their past nine games and have allowed at least five goals in three of their past four games. 

MacKinnon, who at one point slammed his water bottle on the bench, said he was upset with Bednar's decision in the closing minute of the loss to Calgary.

"I just thought the goalie ( Semyon Varlamov ) should have been pulled [sooner] and he didn't," MacKinnon said. "That's all it was. It was just stupid. I was just taking my frustration out on that. I mean, it's just about the goalie being pulled, that's it.

"I think everyone was frustrated, I was just the only one who did that. So no excuses. Everyone wants to win as bad as I do in this room, but they obviously channeled it better than I did. And I definitely can't be losing my temper and treating the coach like that."

Video: COL@CGY: Landeskog sets up MacKinnon for one-timer

Bednar said he was unfazed by MacKinnon's actions.

"It didn't bother me at all," said Bednar, in his third season as Avalanche coach. "That's what I love about Nathan, and about certain guys on our team, is the fire and emotion and passion that they play with and that they have because that's what you need in this game. It's an important part of the game and that's what makes him so good. So I never want to curb that.

"My job as a coach is just make sure that we're driving that emotion and that passion and that energy into the right places and focusing it on the right place and we're doing it in a positive way, and that will lead to winning. So to me I forgot about it by the time we went down the tunnel. I thought we should chat about it, and we did and we're good."

Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog said he felt the incident has been resolved.

"It's obviously frustration," said Landeskog, who won the Last Men In fan vote and will join MacKinnon and forward Mikko Rantanen on the Central Division roster at the 2019 Honda All-Star Game at SAP Center in San Jose on Jan. 26. "We all want to win and we're all working hard. Whether it's the coach, the equipment staff or a player, we're all trying to win and sometimes things just boil over. But we're all good now."

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