MacKinnon, Georgiev help Avalanche beat Flames, 4-1
DENVER (AP) — Nathan MacKinnon had a goal to extend his points streak to seven games, Alexandar Georgiev stopped 28 shots and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Saturday night for their fifth straight victory.
Mikko Rantanen, Alex Newhook and Denis Malgin also scored for Colorado. The defending champion Avalanche moved into a tie for second place with Winnipeg in the Central Division.
Colorado wrapped up a stretch of three back-to-back games over 11 days.
“Every team we’ve played we’re kind of in the battle with for a playoff spot. Just crazy,” MacKinnon said. “They’re all waiting for us each time, too, so it wasn’t like they were on a back-to-back as well. It’s been a weird schedule.”
Defenseman Cale Makar remained in the concussion protocol for the second game in a row. He has missed five of the last seven games due to two concussions.
Nazem Kadri assisted on Tyler Toffoli’s goal for Calgary in his first game in Denver since helping Colorado win the Stanley Cup. Jacob Markstrom made 18 saves for the Flames.
“Our defense got beat one-on-one a lot,” Flames coach Darryl Sutter said. “You play the Stanley Cup champions you can’t have one or two guys off.”
MacKinnon scored on Colorado’s first shot of the game for the second straight night, his 21st at 3:05 of the first period. Newhook made it 2-0 with his 13th at 8:22 and Rantanen’s 38th of the season at 2:42 of the second gave the Avalanche a 3-0 lead.
“The loss is on me. I was on the ice for three goals against. Unacceptable,” Calgary defenseman Nikita Zadorov said. “First goal, bad positioning. Second goal, I should have blocked it. And third goal, I got worked. Worst timing to have the worst game of your career.”
Toffoli’s goal, his 25th, at 17:20 of the second made it 3-1 but Malgin’s fifth goal of the season early in the third gave Colorado a cushion.
“He’s so talented,” MacKinnon said of Malgin. “We knew when we were getting him we were going to get a strong, sturdy little stocky guy. Good wheels, good skill and what a goal.”
The Avalanche paid tribute to Kadri with a highlight video on the scoreboard at the first media timeout. Kadri played three seasons with Colorado, capped by winning the title in June. He had a hat trick in Game 4 of the second round against St. Louis and scored the overtime goal in Game 4 of the finals against Tampa Bay that gave the Avalanche a 3-1 series lead. They won the series in six games.
The capacity crowd gave Kadri a standing ovation during the tribute and he banged his stick on the ice and tapped his heart in appreciation.
“Very classy. It was hard not to get emotional,” Kadri said. “Obviously had some great years here and the city and the fans just continue to support me. It meant a lot to me.”
Colorado beefed up its depth in the minor league with a couple of transactions Saturday. The Avalanche acquired goaltender Keith Kincaid from Boston for winger Shane Bowers in a swap of AHL players, and they re-signed defenseman Keaton Middleton to a two-year deal.
Flames: Host Boston on Tuesday night.
Avalanche: Host Vegas on Monday night.
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Michael Kelly, The Associated Press