Nathan MacKinnon’s run through this NHL postseason will go down as one of the greatest in franchise history, until his final performance.
Call it another Game 7 to forget for the Avalanche’s perennial MVP candidate.
MacKinnon — after a Colorado-record 14 consecutive games with a point to start the playoffs — recorded zero points Friday as the Stars emerged with a 5-4 overtime victory.
MacKinnon stated publicly during the regular season that this year felt like his best chance to win the Avs a championship. He spoke with a somber tone Friday on a video conference call after getting an eviction notice from the Edmonton bubble and moving to 0-3 lifetime in Game 7s.
“We’ve got to find a way to break through,” MacKinnon said. “There are no moral victories here. We came here to win and we didn’t get the job done.”
It’s unfair to pin the Avs’ postseason exit entirely on MacKinnon. But he didn’t provide the same scoring threat as he normally does Friday. MacKinnon entered the game leading the playoffs with 62 shots on goal. In Game 7, he produced just two shots through regulation.
Then again, MacKinnon has been an absolute workhorse all postseason. He played 27-plus minutes on Friday and entered the game leading all Colorado forwards in average postseason ice-time (21:24). In Game 7, it appeared fatigue might have finally caught up with the Avalanche star.
MacKinnon did not offer up excuses.
“I know it’s not the Cup final or anything, but we felt like we could win and I still feel like we could have won everything, it’s just unfortunate,” MacKinnon said.
MacKinnon was brilliant throughout the playoffs, with multi-point outings in eight of his final 12 games. His 14-game points streak tied for the second-longest to begin a Stanley Cup playoffs in NHL history.
“In my opinion, he’s probably the best player in the world right now,” Avalanche forward Vladislav Namestnikov said. “To get to watch him every practice, every game, was special. The things he does are unbelievable. You look at how hard he works and all the guys follow him. He’s the leader.”
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar added: “We talk a lot about (MacKinnon), I just think he hit another level with his play in a lot of different ways. He’s borderline great all the time, but I think in this (postseason), he was outstanding.”
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