LOS ANGELES — Nathan MacKinnon became the first member of the 2013 NHL draft class to reach 500 points, Devon Toews and Mikko Rantanen scored power-play goals and the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Tuesday night.
MacKinnon, selected by the Avalanche with the first overall pick in 2013, had two assists to become the fourth player in Colorado history to get 500 points. He hit the milestone late in the second period when he fed Rantanen on a cross-ice pass for a power-play goal to give the Avs a 3-0 lead.
“Yeah, it’s cool. I wish I got there sooner but obviously it’s a cool milestone," MacKinnon said. "To get 500 points in the NHL is not an easy thing to achieve and had some great players play with me along the way.”
MacKinnon also became the sixth active player to reach 500 points before age 26. The others are Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin and Patrick Kane.
Brandon Saad, acquired in an off-season trade from Chicago, scored 3:07 into the game for his first Colorado goal.
The Avalanche power play, which scored five times in last Friday's win over St. Louis, then got rolling when Toews and Rantanen scored less than two minutes apart in the second. Toews scored for the second straight game when he took advantage of a screen down low and put a slap shot just inside the post at 14:11. That was followed by Rantanen's goal at 16:06.
Colorado is 8 for 17 on the power play in its first three games as six players have goals.
“We were using our speed and trying to create," coach Jared Bednar said. "We were strong on a few pucks and caught ’em and drew a few penalties, and you need your power play to step up. We maybe struggled for a couple of them and then we come up with two big ones at a key time for us.”
Philipp Grubauer stopped 23 shots for Colorado, which has won two straight.
Andreas Athanasiou notched a notable achievement of his own with Los Angeles' first goal. According to Stats LLC, his wrist shot from the left faceoff circle at 7:50 of the third made him the only NHL player to have one goal on one shot in each of his first three games in a season since individual shots on goal were first tracked in 1959-60.
The forward, who signed prior to training camp, also joined Wayne Gretzky and Bill Lesuk as the only players to score in their first three regular-season games with the Kings.
“Any time you can help your team is a good feeling,” Athanasiou said. “When you have a defenceman on the rush, that opens things up. I was fortunate to take the shot and it went in.”
Adrian Kempe brought the Kings within one at 14:22 with a power-play goal. Anze Kopitar had two assists and Cal Petersen made 21 saves for Los Angeles, which has dropped all three of its games by one goal.
TOO MUCH PENALTY KILLING
Los Angeles has been down a skater 17 times and has been on the penalty kill five or more times in each game. The Kings killed off the first 13 to start the season before the Avalanche broke through with a pair of goals.
“For me, it’s still the mental and game management situations that need to be polished up. We have to find a way to stay out of the box,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “It’s really hard to create any rhythm when you are killing 5-6 penalties a game.”
Rantanen was initially credited with a goal 27 seconds into the second period after Petersen was unable to cleanly glove McKinnon's wrist shot. But the goal was disallowed when replay determined Rantanen interfered with Petersen in the crease.
Colorado and Minnesota traded defencemen on Tuesday, with the Avalanche acquiring Greg Pateryn in exchange for Ian Cole. Pateryn is in his eighth season and has two assists in three games.
Avalanche: D Samuel Girard had an assist and has a point in three straight games (four assists). ... Colorado has outscored opponents 6-0 in the second period.
Kings: D Mikey Anderson got his first NHL assist on Athanasiou’s goal. ... Lias Andersson was activated from the taxi squad and centred the fourth line.
The teams meet again on Thursday.
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