DENVER — Nathan MacKinnon scored his 50th goal of the season on Tuesday and then added No. 51 moments later to record his third hat trick in 2023-24. The Hart Trophy hopeful also pitched in with an assist on the opening goal, giving him his eighth four-point night this year to lead the Avalanche to a 5-2 triumph over the Minnesota Wild.

The Ball Arena crowd was treated to a high-quality MacKinnon effort. And they responded with a handful of “M.V.P.” chants — each one louder than the one before.

I never thought in my life I’d score 50,” MacKinnon said. “I appreciate the support from the fans.”

MacKinnon climbed to 137 points this season with three games remaining. He’s two points back of Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov in the Art Ross Trophy race and needs three to best Peter Stastny for the most in a single season in franchise history.

And with all the accomplishments piling on, Colorado’s top star has shown no signs of slowing down less than two weeks from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“If he could continue doing what he’s doing, I’d be really happy,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “that’s all I can say.”

Artturi Lehkonen and Cale Makar also scored for the Avs, who improved to 49-24-6. They hold a two-point lead on Winnipeg for second in the Central Division but the Jets have a game in hand and own the tiebreaker. Colorado hosts Winnipeg in its next game on Saturday.

With the Jets and Avs nearly locked into a first-round series in two weeks, Saturday’s contest could decide who gets home-ice advantage. Though Winnipeg also plays Dallas before Saturday.

Jonathan Drouin (three assists), Devon Toews (two assists), Makar (goal, two assists) and Lehkonen (goal, assist) also had multi-point nights. For Makar, his three points elevated him to 87 on the season, passing the franchise record for points by a defenseman. The previous record holder was Makar’s 86 points in 2021-22.

Drouin also reached a new career-high in points. He had 53 points — tied for his best in the NHL — entering Tuesday’s contest. And his three-point night got him closer to a 60-point season.

Each of the Avs’ top wingers has enjoyed great seasons despite three of them missing time.

In goal, Alexandar Georgiev bounced back with a solid 20-save effort. Georgiev surrendered two power-play goals on 12 shots in the first period but stopped all 10 he faced the rest of the way to shut the Wild down for two periods. Bednar credited Georgiev for his performance but was also sure to compliment his entire team for an exceptional defensive all around.

Georgiev has been a topic of conversation in recent weeks for his shaky play. He leads the NHL with 38 wins but has been inconsistent since a solid stretch of play from mid-January to mid-March.

The Avs are hitching their wagon to their starter, and understandably so. Backup goalie Justus Annunen has been a pleasant surprise since the calendar flipped to 2024 but Bednar knows Georgiev will need to be in the right head space on and off the ice for Colorado to make a long run.

“He does the job perfectly tonight. I thought he was great,” Bednar said of Georgiev.

Lehkonen got the scoring started with a power-play tally in the first period. Moments later, MacKinnon turned on the jet engines to score his first of three other-worldly goals on Minnesota’s Filip Gustavsson.

The Wild then responded with their two tallies on the man advantage but struggled to generate much the rest of the way.

In the second period, Makar scored his 20th of the year before MacKinnon used his speed twice more to complete the hat trick.