Nathan MacKinnon has had an extraordinary year, but he hasn't done it alone; linemates Mikko Rantanen and Gabe Landeskog have elevated him to his lofty status.
It's praiseworthy, even impressive humility. Nathan MacKinnon doesn't think he's above this. Well, he is now. And all his teammates should know it.
Then it happened. With Todd Bertuzzi stalking Steve Moore coming up the ice, Bertuzzi threw a roundhouse punch from behind to Moore’s head, drove him to the ice near the red line, and kept punching.
One of the more interesting moments in the Avalanche's potentially crucial win came when Siemens, cotton stuffed in what likely was a broken nose suffered in a first-period fight with the Flames' Tanner Glass, shot the puck from the Colorado zone into the empty Flames net with 17 seconds remaining.
The start of Nathan MacKinnon's two-to-four week absence from the lineup comes amid a testing stretch of the Colorado schedule so road-dominated, it should come with tour T-shirts listing the stops.
As the NHL staged its All-Star weekend, with Nathan MacKinnon as the Avalanche representative on the Central Division roster, one of the side stories was where the league's elite players are not headed in the upcoming weeks. They're not headed for South Korea.
As the Avalanche went into the All-Star break with a two-game losing streak that does nothing to diminish the magnitude of its recovery season (DON'T PANIC!), Nathan MacKinnon headed off to Tampa as Colorado's only representative on the Central Division roster at the All-Star Game. If it could only be one, that choice was obvious, wasn't it? It wasn't a year ago.
Banished since the amazing 112-point season under Patrick Roy in 2013-14 -- an accomplishment diminished by the first-round playoff collapse against the Wild -- the excitement, the energy and the rush to get back aboard the Avalanche bandwagon all have returned in Colorado.