In the first road game for the Colorado Avalanche in what began a road-heavy month for the squad was a clash of two teams fighting for the top of the Central Division. The Stars controlled most of this game but Colorado’s star power showed up before time ran out and Nathan MacKinnon stole the show in overtime for the 5-4 victory.
The game started as a back-and-forth affair with each team getting a couple good shifts. It was the Stars who cashed in first however from Yevgeni Dadonov at 11:57 when Ross Colton turned the puck over and Alexandar Georgiev was caught looking the other way. Who other than Nathan MacKinnon would respond for the visitors less than two minutes later on a nifty carry and play at the net front. Colorado had two power plays but didn’t find paydirt so the score was 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.
The second period wasn’t as kind to the Avalanche as Tyler Seguin put the Stars ahead at just 1:28. After Jack Johnson took a questionable double-minor high sticking penalty the obligatory Joe Pavelski goal was scored at 10:10. As the Avalanche were getting heavily outshot 14-7 they drew a power play to end the period and Jonathan Drouin converted at 19:48 putting the Avalanche back in this game with a 3-2 score going into the final frame.
It looked like Dallas was going to take this one when Seguin got his second of the night at 9:07 and put the Stars up 4-2. Less than 40 second later Drouin got his second goal of the night as well on a great tip shot to put the Avalanche back within one. Finally the equalizer came with the extra attacker at nearly a minute left as the puck bounced off Mikko Rantanen who was standing in the crease.
In overtime it was a lot of cautious puck possession but after Georgiev made a save on Matt Duchene it opened up which allowed MacKinnon to get a breakaway and when you are as hot as he is he made no mistake on that look to put the Avalanche up in a 5-4 final.
Puck control and breakouts were an issue all through the game for the Avalanche but they knew goals would come from going to the net and that’s what worked to get them back in this contest. A little more of that mentality would serve Colorado well as the schedule tightens up this month.
Nathan MacKinnon now is tied with Nikita Kucherov for the league lead in points at 64 as he keeps his torrid pace going. MacKinnon actually leads 5v5 points with 32 to Kucherov’s 29 if any Hart Trophy voters wish to dig a little deeper.
Just before the puck dropped MacKinnon was named to the All-Star game. If any other Avalanche are to attend, namely Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen, they’ll have to get voted in with the fan selection.
A home matinee against the surging Florida Panthers on Saturday, January 6th at 2 p.m. MT.