Avalanche beat Red Wings 3-2 in overtime
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT — Nathan MacKinnon had the puck in the final minute of overtime and each of the four opposing skaters stood passively and stared at the phenom.
The sensational rookie took full advantage of the attention, breaking one of Wayne Gretzky’s records while helping his team win.
Andre Benoit, all alone, scored off an assist from MacKinnon with 31.4 seconds left in overtime to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
MacKinnon has a point in 13 straight games, breaking Gretzky’s mark for an 18-year-old NHL player that he set during the 1979-80 season.
“It’s pretty cool,” MacKinnon acknowledged. “I want to be as consistent as possible. He probably doubled my point total in those games.”
Gretzky finished his rookie season with 51 goals and 137 points.
MacKinnon has 22 goals and 50 points — easily leading all rookies in the league this year — in 63 games. His point streak is the longest by a rookie at any age since Colorado’s Paul Stastny went 20 straight in 2007.
MacKinnon kept it going with quite a pass. He was behind the net to the right of Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard when the No. 1 overall pick from the 2013 NHL draft sent a diagonal pass to Benoit in the bottom of the left circle.
“Nobody really took me,” MacKinnon. “And, Benoit took the back door.”
Benoit made the most of the scoring opportunity for his fourth goal, sending a shot to the top shelf that Howard had no shot to stop.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 35 saves for Colorado, which has won four straight.
“Jiggy was big when we needed him,” said Matt Duchene, who scored a game-tying goal midway through the second period. “He held us in there until we could get the winner.”
Colorado’s P.A. Parenteau made it a 2-all game 5:49 into the third period after the Red Wings took their second lead.
Detroit went ahead on Niklas Kronwall’s goal midway through the first period and Tomas Jurco’s score with 7:50 left in the second.
Howard stopped 22 shots for a team desperately trying to extend its postseason streak to 23.
“It’s important to remember that we still got a point,” Howard said. “It keeps us in the race.”
The Red Wings retired Nicklas Lidstrom’s No. 5 jersey before the game. Lidstrom, one of the NHL’s all-time best on the blue line, saw a fellow Swede have a rough night defensively.
Franzen skated into the crease when Duchene’s shot was going to slide to the right of the net and he knocked it into the goal with his right skate.
The burly forward failed to do his job when the Avs tied the game for a second time.
Duchene carried the puck behind Detroit’s net, easily keeping it while Franzen lightly pushed him. Franzen then accidently knocked Howard’s stick out of his hands, making it tough for him to stop Parenteau’s game-tying shot.
Franzen lost the puck in the opening minute of overtime and Duchene had a breakaway attempt stopped by a holding penalty on Kronwall while he wasn’t holding his stick.
Stastny negated the power play by getting called for tripping. That gave the Red Wings an extra skater for 1:03 in the extra period, but they didn’t take advantage.
Detroit has dropped two straight, losing third-period leads in both setbacks.
“Through two periods, we could have already had the game put away, but we didn’t,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock lamented. “That’s been the theme all year.”
NOTES: David Legwand made his Detroit debut, a day after he was acquired by his hometown team from the Nashville Predators. “My wife and kids and mom and dad were here, that’s all I took care of,” he said. “That’s all I’m concentrating on.” Legwand was on the ice when Detroit took a 2-1 lead and was briefly credited with an assist. … Colorado scratched goalie Reto Berra a day after trading a second-round pick for him to provide depth behind Semyon Varlamov and Giguere.
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