May 26th, 2024

MacKinnon has 2 assists, breaks franchise’s single-season points mark as Avs beat Oilers 5-1

By Pat Graham, The Associated Press on April 18, 2024.

DENVER (AP) – Valeri Nichushkin scored twice, Nathan MacKinnon added two assists to break the franchise’s single-season points mark and the Colorado Avalanche cruised into the playoffs behind a 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

MacKinnon wrapped up the regular season with 140 points (51 goals, 89 assists) to top Peter Stastny’s franchise record of 139 set in 1981-82 when the club was in Quebec.

The speedy MacKinnon couldn’t catch Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov in the race for the Art Ross Trophy, which goes to the leading points scorer. Kucherov wound up with 144 points.

Mikko Rantanen, Josh Manson and Zach Parise also scored to help the Avalanche snap a two-game slide. Colorado jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the first period and never looked back in a game where the Oilers rested several of their starters, including Connor McDavid.

Justus Annunen made 25 saves for the Avalanche, who finished with a league-best 31 home wins. Colorado opens the playoffs at Winnipeg on Sunday.

Dylan Holloway had a power-play goal for Edmonton. The Oilers will face either Vegas or Los Angeles in the first round.

Missing from the Edmonton lineup in addition to McDavid were Mattias Ekholm, Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Evan Bouchard and Evander Kane. That’s nearly 70% of the team’s points production this season.

It made for an uneven game as the Avalanche went with a full cast. Stuart Skinner was constantly under pressure and surrendered four goals on 13 shots in the first period. Calvin Pickard took over after the first intermission and stopped 13 shots.

MacKinnon joined Kucherov in the 140-point club this season. It marks the seventh season in NHL history where multiple players have reached that mark. The last time was Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux in 1995-96, according to NHL Stats.

Avalanche forward Jonathan Drouin appeared to be shaken up late in the second and wasn’t on the bench to start the third period. He’s turned in a career year with 56 points.

The players from the Denver Pioneers were in attendance and received a loud ovation from the crowd in the first period. The team captured its record 10th NCAA national hockey title last weekend.

UP NEXT

Oilers: Will face either Vegas or Los Angeles.

Avalanche: At Winnipeg on Sunday. The Jets, who moved from Atlanta in 2011, remain the only Western Conference squad the Avalanche have yet to face in the playoffs.

___

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

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