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MacKinnon leads Avalanche to 2-1 win over Panthers

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Cats fall to 1-1-1 on five-game roadie

NHL: Florida Panthers at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan MacKinnon scored twice to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers at Pepsi Center in Denver.

After a scoreless first period, MacKinnon got the game’s first goal by finishing off a fine crossing pass from Tyson Barrie with a one-timer 3:15 into the second. Tyson Jost drew the secondary assist on the even-strength marker.

The Panthers would counter with a nice shorthanded goal at the 10:27 mark. Jared McCann stole the puck away from Samuel Girard behind the Colorado cage and found Aleksander Barkov, who cruised into the slot, for the easy put away.

James Reimer, who finished with 28 stops, was forced to rob MacKinnon early in the third period with a spectacular glove save to keep the game even after Colin Wilson found him all alone in front.

Shortly after, MacKinnon worked his away around a matador-like Aaron Ekblad and slipped a soft shot through Reimer at 6:44 for the go-ahead goal. Assists on MackInnon’s 13th went to Mark Barberio and Mikko Rantanen.

The Panthers had plenty of the time to tie the score, but the offense sputtered and they wasted their one power-play opportunity of the game when Blake Comeau was called for interference midway through the final frame. Florida was in the game all night, but the scoring woes that have plagued the team as of late continued, leaving them stuck on 29 points as they head to Las Vegas for their first-ever meeting with the Gerard Gallant, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and the rest of the Golden Knights.

Full Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)

Peaks & Valleys

  • Nathan MacKinnon has three two-goal games this season, matching his NHL career high. He has 30 points in his past 20 games.
  • Aleksander Barkov leads the league in shorthanded goals with four. Barkov’s 11th of the year extended his point streak to six games.
  • The Avalanche are 3-1 in their last four games and the win allowed them to climb back over the .500 mark in points at 15-14-2.
  • Vincent Trocheck saw his six-game point streak come to an end. Trocheck had three goals and six assists during the streak.
  • Florida killed off all three Avalanche power plays and has killed 20 of 21 in the past six games. The Cats PK is now ranked 24th in the NHL .
  • Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves to pick up his tenth win of the season.
  • Mile High Hockey has the other side of the Avs win that completed the season series sweep.