Thursday evening the Colorado Avalanche kicked off a stretch where they will play twelve out of fifteen games at Pepsi Center and they did so victoriously. After beating the Florida Panthers in a high-scoring affair just a few days prior, the Avalanche, led by Nathan MacKinnon and Semyon Varlamov, beat the Panthers once more by the score of 2-1 in their first game at home since the disappointing loss to the Buffalo Sabres that capped off a homestand in which Colorado went 1-4.

“We are looking for a good homestand here again,” Nathan MacKinnon said following Thursday’s victory. “Twelve of fifteen, we need lots of wins. We’re not going to put a number on it, just stick with the process.”

Nathan MacKinnon scored both of Colorado’s goals in what would be his eleventh multi-point game of the season. MacKinnon has now scored 13 goals and 22 assists this season and has scored 22 points in the 20 games since the start of November.

After a scoreless first period, MacKinnon tallied his first goal of the game 3:15 into the second. Colorado’s Tyson Jost entered the zone with the puck on the rush, tapped it to Tyson Barrie who quickly found MacKinnon on the top of the far circle for the one-timer.

“I just had to lift it and hit the short side,” MacKinnon said. “I knew if I hit it, it was going to go in. It was just a matter of me executing.”

A mishandled puck by Samuel Girard behind Colorado’s net led to an Aleksander Barkov goal about halfway through the period and the game would head into the third at a 1-1 tie.

At 6:44 into the third period Nathan MacKinnon struck again, this time with the game-winner. A quick cross-ice pass from Mark Barberio led MacKinnon into the zone as he drove the net and squeaked one in under Panther goaltender James Reimer’s arm.

MacKinnon led all forwards in ice-time at 22:03 and was second-most among all Avs players, behind only Erik Johnson.

“It’s fun. It’s a challenge, for sure, as a forward playing that much,” MacKinnon said about the heavy workload he’s had lately. “I like it, especially when you’re feeling it. I was feeling good tonight, so I definitely wanted to get back out there.”

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov was the other key factor for Colorado in the victory over Florida. Varlamov stopped 32 of 33 shots he faced, good for a .970 save percentage, earning himself the first star of the game and his tenth win of the season.

The Colorado Avalanche continue their three-game homestand Saturday against the NHL’s best team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Colorado will enter the game with a 15-14-2 record while Tampa Bay sits in first place in the Atlantic division at 23-6-2.