Led by Nathan MacKinnon’s first career hat trick, the Colorado Avalanche edged the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 in Denver on Sunday night. Colorado managed five goals on just 18 shots on net against rookie goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

At just 19 years of age, MacKinnon became the youngest player in Avalanche history to record a hat trick. Last year’s Calder Trophy winner had not registered a goal in the previous 13 contests.

“The pucks were just finding me tonight,” MacKinnon said. “I was very fortunate to get a hat trick. Definitely a lot of fun, it was cool seeing the hats come on the ice. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a hat trick so it was good.”

The Avalanche (26-23-11) have now won four of their last five games and sit six points out of final playoff position in the Western Conference. The club has registered 19 goals over the course of those five games.

The Lightning (37-19-6) were playing on the second half of a back-to-back after beating the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.

The two teams split their season series as the Lightning beat the Avs, 3-2, in a shootout on Jan. 17 in Tampa Bay.

With a first period assist, Gabriel Landeskog extended his active point streak to six games – the captain has five goals and two assists in that time. The assist was also the 100th of Landeskog’s career.

Tyler Johnson registered one goal and two assists for Tamp Bay in the losing effort.

Nate Guenin dropped the gloves with Brenden Morrow late in the second period – it was the first fight of Guenin’s career.

MacKinnon’s first goal was a beauty – he turned on the jets and split the Lightning’s defense and then ripped a backhand past Vasilevskiy to tie the score at 1-1 late in the first period.

MacKinnon and Matt Duchene scored 29 seconds apart early in the second stanza to put the Avs up 3-1.

After the Lightning pulled within one again, MacKinnon took a Ryan O’Reilly breakaway pass fired a wrist shot past Vasilevsky to complete the hat trick.

Alex Tanguay scored the eventual game-winner at 7:20 of the third period.

Brett Connolly and Nikita Kucherov scored late in the game to cut the Avs’ lead to one goal, but the Lightning weren’t able to complete the comeback.

“They’re a good team and they score a lot of goals. We knew they could come back at anytime,” Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said. “But Varly made some great saves early in the game and he was very solid at the end.”

Varlamov made 28 saves on the way to his 18th victory of the season.

“I think we’re moving our feet offensively, Our D’ are very active. We really work well as a unit of five and we’re not afraid to put pucks on net,” coach Roy said. “Tonight, we didn’t have as many shots on net, but I thought we still made some great plays offensively.”

The Avalanche start a two-game road trip on Tuesday when they visit the Nashville Predators.

Nathan is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached on Twitter at @TheRealNatron.

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