Few expected Nathan MacKinnon to match the three assists he generated in helping the Colorado Avalanche win Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild. He didn’t in Game 2; instead, he surpassed that output, generating a beautiful goal and three assists for a four-point masterpiece that is prompting onlookers to throw the words “Hall of Fame” around.
The prodigious 18-year-old may or may not be matching the special things Sidney Crosby did at that same age, but the Avalanche probably don’t care with a 2-0 series lead against the Wild thanks to a 4-2 win. It’s also easy to overlook slightly less sexy storylines; Paul Stastny is having a magical run of his own, as he followed up his Game 1 heroics with a one-goal, three-assist night of his own.
The Wild must be merely happy to move the series back to Minnesota. They might have questions in net after the Avalanche chased Ilya Bryzgalov, but either way, they need to find a way to slow down this Colorado attack.
(Perhaps having the last change and a refuge from the high elevation may do the trick?)
The luckiest group in Game 2 wasn’t the Avalanche, it was the officials. P.A. Parenteau can attest, as he was the centerpiece of two controversial moments in the wild third period. Despite being clearly cut by an errant stick, officials didn’t call a penalty, let alone a double-minor. If that wasn’t enough, some argue that officials botched an offside call that erased a Parenteau empty-netter.
With a Wild goal moments later, what could have been a 4-1 lead was instead a suddenly nervous 3-2 situation. Those with whistles had to be a little relieved that the Wild’s comeback bid fell short, then.
Either way, the Avalanche and their young scorers are riding quite the high right now. It’s up to Minnesota to make a series out of this one starting with Game 3 on Monday.