Not only is Nathan MacKinnon involved in a tight playoff race, he’s also in the thick of the MVP hunt. His performance in Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings certainly didn’t hurt his chances of winning the award.
MacKinnon finished the night with two goals, an assist and 11 shots on goal in 18:05 of ice time. Oh, and one of his goals looked like this:
The 22-year-old is now riding an 12-game point streak. He’s racked up an incredible 24 points during that stretch. The Avs forward has also racked up 28 points in his last 15 outings.
The Avalanche went 4-4 during MacKinnon’s eight-game absence between Feb. 1-16. With him in the lineup, they’re 35-21-8. That’s quite a difference.
“If we get in the playoffs, for me, he’s the MVP,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of MacKinnon, per the Denver Post. “I can’t imagine there is another player who means more to their team, and doing more for their team, than Nate’s doing for us. That’s just the way I see it. He is the driving force to our offense. And it’s consistent. It’s multiple-point games — seems like every night.”
Of course, his biggest competition will come in the form of Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils, Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and a few others.
It’ll be difficult not to give MacKinnon the award if the Avs qualify for the playoffs. They’re currently sitting in the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but they haven’t clinched anything just yet.
On a positive note, they’re also just three points behind the Minnesota Wild for third place in the Central Division.