MacKinnon’s hat-trick leads Avs to a 53rd win, 9-3 over Kings

DENVER – Nathan MacKinnon had three goals and two assists, Nicolas Aube-Kubel had two goals in a dominant first period and the Colorado Avalanche set a franchise record with their 53rd win by beating the Los Angeles Kings 9-3 on Wednesday night defeated.

Valeri Nichushkin added two goals, Cale Makar had one goal and three assists, Andre Burakovsky also scored a goal and Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves for the Avalanche, who were 4-0 up before the game was 11 minutes old.

Colorado won its seventh straight win and improved to 53-14-6, beating the 2013-14 and 2000-01 teams in most wins. The Avalanche are also two points ahead of Florida for the best record in the NHL and are the best franchise at home, 29-4-3.

Adrian Kempe, Alex Iafallo and Phillip Danault scored for the Kings, who lost four of five. Jonathan Quick allowed three goals on 10 shots before being drawn on consecutive nights for the first time in over four years. Cal Peterson allowed six more goals in 25 shots.


LA stayed in third place in the Pacific Division in the playoffs but is just three points ahead of Vegas, who have two games in hand.

The schedule didn’t do the kings any favors. They won 5-2 in Chicago on Tuesday night and came to Denver early Wednesday to play at height while the Avalanche had been out since Saturday.

And Colorado opened with relentless pressure and crisp passes that overwhelmed a tired LA. Aube-Kubel scored in 2:54 and Nichushkin scored 39 seconds later. MacKinnon scored on the power play and Aube-Kubel scored 41 seconds later to make it 4-0 at 9:04 of the first period.

Kempe scored his 33rd goal early in the second and Iafallo made it 4-2 with a slap shot just inside the blue line at 10:40 of the second. But the Avs stabilized things when MacKinnon fed Burakovsky in the high slot at 1:05 p.m.

MacKinnon scored a breakaway early in the third period on a stretch pass from Makar and notched his third career hat-trick with 10:08 to go to make it 9-2.


Fans chanted “We want 10!” in the final minutes but had to settle for nine goals for a Colorado high of the season.

NOTES: Avs rookie Bowen Byram assisted with the first two goals in his fourth return game after being on holiday for almost three months with concussion problems. … Makar’s goal was the 60th for the Colorado defensemen, the highest in the NHL since Washington (62) in 1993-94. … Avs coach Jared Bednar is hoping captain Gabriel Landeskog (having knee surgery) will return for a game or two ahead of the playoffs. … Quick started back-to-back for the first time since January 18-19, 2018. He last played back-to-back nights on February 9–10 of the same season. … Nichushkin became the seventh Colorado player with 20 goals. … The Avs signed undrafted college free agents Ben Meyers (Minnesota) and Wyatt Aamodt (Minnesota State).


Kings: Host Columbus in the first of five straight games against teams not in the playoffs on Saturday night.


Avalanche: Thursday night’s home game against New Jersey, whose 24 regular away losses are the most in the NHL. The avs are 7-1-1 in the second game of back-to-backs.


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Joel McCord

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