Things looked bleak for Colorado when Nathan MacKinnon went down with a lower-body injury. As it turns out, it was premature to worry.
The Avalanche were 4-5-1 when MacKinnon was injured and had come off back-to-back losses to Columbus. Then came the reality of playing three weeks without their best player.
Things haven’t turned out too badly. The Avalanche have won five straight games, scoring 31 goals in those wins. They will go for their sixth in a row when the Anaheim Ducks are in town on Wednesday night.
MacKinnon is a dynamic player that forces opponents to scheme to stop him, but Colorado has shown it has other players who can step up, namely Nazem Kadri. Kadri is in the midst of a nine-game points streak and has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) during the winning streak.
He had a goal and three assists in a 7-5 comeback win over Ottawa on Monday night.
“He’s such a smart player in support of the puck on the power play in the middle of the ice,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “It’s one of the reasons why we got him originally because he was doing that in Toronto. He does so many things real well. It’s just smarts and work and puck distribution.”
Heading into NHL play Tuesday, Kadri ranked fourth in the NHL with 23 points. He’s had help, though. Linemate Andre Burakovsky has two goals and three assists over the past two games. Defenseman Cale Makar has consecutive two-goal games, with five goals and two assists over the past three games.
Anaheim has a player that has been just as scorching in Troy Terry, who saw a 16-game point streak end Monday night at Nashville. Terry has 12 goals and 10 assists in 18 games this season and has led the Ducks’ surprising revival.
Anaheim finished last in the West Division last year and has not reached the postseason since the 2017-18 season but is in the hunt this season. The Ducks have eight players with 10 or more points this year, including the ageless Ryan Getzlaf, who has one goal and 18 assists.
Terry’s points streak is third-longest in franchise history behind Corey Perry (19 games) and Teemu Selanne (17 games). He nearly matched Selanne but had a shot ring off the right post late in the loss at Nashville on Monday night.
“It was obviously going to end at some point. The big thing for me now is just to prove it wasn’t just a streaky thing,” Terry said. “I wasn’t good enough in that game (Monday) and it showed. I’ve got to be more of a difference-maker every night. Moving forward, I’ve got to show it wasn’t just this one streak.”
Anaheim has lost two straight after winning eight in a row and may not have forward Adam Henrique available at Colorado. Henrique suffered an unspecified upper-body injury in the first period against the Predators and didn’t return.
His injury occurred in the same game Rickard Rakell returned from a 10-day absence due to a left shoulder injury, scoring a goal in 19 minutes of ice time.
–Field Level Media