MacKinnon Owns Game Four Performance: ‘I Was Bad’

Author:
Colorado Hockey Now

Most teams depend on their star players to get them out of slumps, and the Colorado Avalanche are no different. Nathan MacKinnon has been held to just one assist over the last three games, all of which his team has lost. His linemate, Mikko Rantanen, has just one goal in that same timeframe.

Game Four certainly didn’t go the way the Avalanche had hoped, and it wasn’t particularly close overall. After practice on Tuesday, MacKinnon didn’t mince words about his team’s performance, and was critical of himself.

“Yeah, we stunk early. I was bad. I got to be better, especially early,” he told the media after an optional skate. “I thought we had some (looks) second half of the game. I’m sure they’re just trying to hold the lead, so that’s why we played well, but just not good enough.”

MacKinnon was one of a handful of regular skaters who took to the ice for the optional skate, which lasted just about 30 minutes with no coaches on the ice. Zach Parise, Casey Mittelstadt, and Andrew Cogliano were also out there, just to name a few. Cale Makar got some time in, but just with his skates on.

The 29 year old superstar said that the Avalanche have to start focusing on the right things and not get too far ahead of themselves.

“I just think the result has to be the last thing we think about,” he said. “There’s so many things we have to do in our process and the result will come or it won’t, I guess. I think last night, I’m sure a lot of us were just thinking about just winning the game, but there’s a lot of steps before that we have to do to win the game. And regardless of who we have in the lineup, it doesn’t really change.”

One guy they didn’t have in the lineup, and will not have, is Valeri Nichushkin. I asked MacKinnon about the news yesterday, simply because we didn’t get a chance to speak to him last night, but he said he didn’t have much to say about the matter. Nichushkin’s locker at both Ball Arena and Family Sports has already been removed and replaced with another player.

The Avalanche are hoping to get Devon Toews back in the lineup. Jared Bednar said the defenseman is feeling better today and will travel with the team to Dallas.

“Hopefully he’s good to go for tomorrow,” Bednar said.

If you think Colorado is struggling with their confidence right now, you might be right. A guy like Toews would help with that, but this is clearly a team that’s a little down at the moment. When asked about the confidence level of the team, MacKinnon was pretty honest.

“I mean, it’s okay, I guess. We just lost three in a row,” he said. “Not scoring much. Just have to work ourselves out of it. I wouldn’t say it’s super high. I mean, it’s just natural when you’re not producing and scoring how we usually do and starts with us. The top players need to be a lot better. I think our depth have been really, really good this whole playoff run, so we got to get going here. And we’ll give it our all tomorrow night.”

One guy who can’t take much of the blame for Game Four is Alexandar Georgiev. If anything, that game could have been a lot worse without him in net. Dallas took it to the Avalanche early and never relented until the third period, when they sat back a fair bit.

“It’s not on him at all…he’s been great,” MacKinnon said.

The Avalanche fly out to Dallas this afternoon. I’ll be flying out to meet them tomorrow morning and will be at morning skate.

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