DENVER (AP) Nathan MacKinnon scored four goals to extend his career-best points streak to 17 games, Mikko Rantanen scored twice, and the Colorado Avalanche rallied for a 6-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

MacKinnon scored into an empty net in the final moments for the first four-goal game in Avalanche team history. Cale Makar had a pair of assists in his return from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for three games. “He's playing out of his mind right now, and we're asking that top line to do a lot right now,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of MacKinnon. "And they're following through.” MacKinnon said he approached the game with the same mindset that he has for every game. “I'm just trying to play the best I can,” MacKinnon said. “I thought I've had some better games. I just got some goals tonight. They just went in. Hit one off the shin pad, had an empty netter. Sometimes it feels easy. Sometimes it feels really hard. Tonight, was easy.” The Avs killed three Ottawa power plays in the last eight minutes with the help of Alexandar Georgiev, who finished with 41 saves. Colorado converted on four of their five power-play opportunities.

Jacob Bernard-Docker, Ridly Greig, Drake Batherson, and Josh Norris scored for Ottawa, which lost its sixth straight. The two most recent losses came under interim coach Jacques Martin, who replaced the fired D.J. Smith on Monday.

Martin, who coached the Senators from 1996 to 2004, had initially rejoined the team on Dec. 6 as a senior adviser to Smith.

“I thought that today was going to be the day that we get it done, and it’s just tough,” Senators captain Brady Tkachuk said. “It’s just tough. Like I said earlier, I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse in my life right now. ”

Trailing 4-3, Colorado tied it on MacKinnon’s third goal, a power-play score at 6:16 of the third. Martin lodged a challenge claiming the Avalanche were offside on the play but it was unsuccessful and the Avs were awarded another power play for delay of game, during which Rantanen scored on a tip-in. “I think Toronto felt like there wasn't enough evidence to reverse it," Martin said. “But when I looked at it, it was a clear offside.” Rantanen thought the call could have gone either way. “At first I thought it was offside, but then, maybe it's not,” he said. “It was tight, and they took forever so it must have been a little of a tight call. But it was really good to get the goal and then capitalize on the power play.” The Senators went in front 3-2 on Bernard-Docker’s goal at 1:32 of the second period. He launched a shot from the point that deflected off Makar’s stick and into the net.

Batherson went top shelf at 14:47 of the second to beat Georgiev, putting the Senators up by two before Rantanen scored on a wrist shot to pull the Avalanche within a goal going into the third period.

Ottawa scored twice in a 15-second span of the opening period, the first on a power-play goal by Norris and the second on a rebound shot by Grieg for a 2-1 lead.

MacKinnon’s second goal, at 18:28 of the first, was the 300th of his career and evened the score. He was positioned in the slot when he snapped a shot past goalie Joonas Korpisalo, who had 33 saves.

MacKinnon opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 2:43 of the first, with a slapshot from the center of the left circle.


Senators: Return home to host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

Avalanche: Host the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.



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