DENVER (AP) — Teenage center Nathan MacKinnon had the first hat trick of his young career, Matt Duchene also scored and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 on Sunday.
Alex Tanguay had a goal and Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves for the Avalanche, who have won four of five. Ryan O’Reilly added two assists for Colorado
MacKinnon, at 19 years and 5 months, became the youngest player in Avalanche history to score three goals in a game. It was Colorado’s first hat trick since Duchene did it Nov. 4, 2011, at Dallas, a span of 258 games.
Tyler Johnson had a goal and two assists for Tampa Bay, and Nikita Kucherov added a goal and an assist. Ondrej Palat and Brett Connolly also scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 13 saves.
MacKinnon ended a 13-game goal drought. His previous goal came at Tampa Bay on Jan. 15, when he scored with 6.8 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
He didn’t need any late-game dramatics Sunday. He tied the score at 1 when he burst through defensemen Jason Garrison and Nikita Nesterov and beat Vasilevskiy with a backhand at 16:21 of the first.
MacKinnon struck again at 3:10 of the second when he tipped Ryan O’Reilly’s shot past Vasilevskiy.
Duchene scored 29 seconds later to make it 3-1. It was his 16th of the season.
Johnson’s 23rd goal at 5:51 of the second pulled the Lightning to 3-2, but MacKinnon restored the two-goal advantage 7 minutes later when he beat Vasilevskiy with a shot to the short side at 12:50 of the second. It was MacKinnon’s 12th of the season.
Tanguay scored his 16th at 7:20 of the third to make it 5-2. Connolly’s 12th at 11:43 got the Lightning back within two goals.
Vasilevskiy came off for an extra skater with 1:58 remaining and Kucherov scored at 18:58 to make it 5-4, but the Lightning couldn’t get the equalizer
Palat gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead when he stole a pass from Colorado defenseman Brad Stuart, centered the puck to Johnson and then beat Varlamov after the return pass at 10:53 of the first. It was Palat’s 15th goal of the season.
NOTES: Avalanche D Jan Hejda was scratched for the first time this season. … Palat extended his point streak to five games. … Colorado LW Gabriel Landeskog failed to score a goal for the first time in six games. … It was Military Appreciation Night at Pepsi Center.
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