Rookie sparks Avs in OT win


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.

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 chance to stop.

Sharks 5, Penguins 3

In San Jose, Joe Thornton scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:39 left in regulation to help the Sharks overcome a two-goal deficit to beat Pittsburgh.

Justin Braun started the comeback with a goal late in the second and Patrick Marleau and Brent Burns scored tying goals earlier in the third for San Jose.

Oilers 3, Islanders 2 (OT)

In Edmonton, Taylor Hall scored the overtime winner and the Oilers rebounded from a listless start to earn a come-from-behind victory over New York.

Sabres 3, Lightning 1

In Tampa, Jhonas Enroth made 43 saves to spoil the return of Lightning star Steven Stamkos and Buffalo beat the hosts.

Stamkos had been sidelined since breaking his right shin Nov. 11 at Boston, causing him to miss 45 games.

Kings 3, Jets 1

In Winnipeg, Mike Richards scored the go-ahead goal on a giveaway by the Jets to lift Los Angeles to its sixth straight victory.

Coyotes 5, Canadiens 2

In Glendale, Arizona, Radim Vrbata scored two goals and the Coyotes bounced back from a shaky second period to beat Montreal, their first win over the Canadiens since 1998.

Montreal held Phoenix to one shot in the second period while setting up Alex Galchenyuk’s goal on a two-man advantage.

Vrbata made it a two-goal lead in the third period and Shane Doan scored less than 2 minutes later to put it out of reach.

Bruins 3, Capitals 0

In Boston, Tuukka Rask got the first win of his career against Washington, Gregory Campbell and Loui Eriksson scored second-period goals for the Bruins.

Blackhawks 6, Blue Jackets 1

In Chicago, Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews had two goals apiece for the Blackhawks.

Blues 2, Predators 1

In Nashville, Ian Cole had a goal and an assist to lead St. Louis to its third straight win.

Stars 6, Canucks 1

In Dallas, Tyler Seguin had three goals and two assists to lead the Stars to a win over Vancouver.