Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, back, gets checked by Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall in the first period Wednesday night at Denver. David Zalubowski/Associated Press

DENVER — Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said he watched Bruins forward Taylor Hall’s hit on Nathan MacKinnon during the first intermission Wednesday night. He said he didn’t think the hit that knocked Colorado’s star forward out of the game just 2:22 into the first period was dirty.

But he still wanted Hall to answer for it and tried to engage him in a fight in Colorado’s 4-3 overtime win over the Bruins.

“The hit in itself – l looked at it during intermission – I don’t think was that bad,” Landeskog said. “But ultimately when one of your best friends and teammate, and ultimately your best player gets hit like that in the neutral zone, you have to make sure that next time anyone thinks about doing that, they have to pay a price. That there’s going to be some consequences for that. It doesn’t have to be a dirty play for that to happen.”

Hall, who rarely fights, skated away from shoves and offers to fight from Landeskog.

“Hall didn’t want to answer for it. That’s unfortunate,” Landeskog said. “I was trying to force him to. He didn’t want to. That’s OK.”

According to, Hall has fought just twice in the NHL.


The play looked ugly at full speed when MacKinnon crumpled to the ice and came up bleeding heavily from his face. MacKinnon, a five-time All-Star, was able to skate off on his own but didn’t return. MacKinnon was treated at the arena and when he left to go home before the end of the game he was feeling better.

It was originally called 5-minute major on Hall. But upon review the referees, who don’t have the option to wipe it out altogether, dropped it down to a minor as the video showed it was MacKinnon’s own awkwardly raised stick that caused the injury. TNT’s broadcast team questioned whether it was a penalty at all.

Colorado Coach Jared Bednar thought the referees were right to call it just a minor, but the hit still bothered him.

“I didn’t like it. Blindside. A little late, a little high,” he said. “The way he catches him, Nate’s stick goes up so I believe they probably made the right call. But I don’t love the hit. Whether it’s really solid or just a glancing blow, it’s the kind of hit the league is trying to get rid of.”

Even though his players’ frustration with Hall led to two penalties that Boston turned into the two power-play goals, Bednar liked his players’ reaction.

“Just because the department of player safety doesn’t deem something that bad. It’s what your team is willing to accept,” Bednar said. “If your players don’t like it, they’ll try to get you to answer the bell. I have no problem with the way our guys handled it.”


The Bruins were on the verge of notching their signature win of the season before becoming just another notch on the Avalanche’s belt in the Avs’ increasingly special season.

Boston blew a two-goal third-period lead, the tying goal coming with 36.5 seconds left in regulation from Landeskog with their goalie Darcy Kuemper pulled.

Cale Makar scored a power-play goal with 1:59 left in overtime  for the win.

It was the Avs’ 17th straight win at home and eighth consecutive victory overall. Colorado broke a tie with the 1975-76 Bruins for the fifth-longest home winning streak in NHL history. The record is 23, set by Detroit during the 2011-12 season.

The loss squandered an outstanding 37-save performance by goalie Linus Ullmark.

The B’s took a 3-1 lead into the third but they allowed the expected wave from Colorado to turn into a tsunami by playing too cautiously, in Coach Bruce Cassidy’s estimation. The Avs outshot them 18-7 in the third and, when you spend that amount of time in your own zone, something bad is bound to happen.


With 8:14 left, it did. Samuel Girard threw a left-point shot toward the net, hitting Curtis Lazar out high, bouncing off the ice a couple of times before hitting the near post and getting past Ullmark.

“The biggest thing for me is watching us play the whole period in our own end because we couldn’t execute a breakout pass,” said Cassidy. “You’ve got to keep playing hockey. They’re too good. You’re going to get fatigued and sure enough, they start winning some faceoffs and we’re pulling it out of our net.

“You’ve got to keep playing. We’re usually pretty good at that. And when you don’t play winning hockey. Protect the middle of the ice. They got a lucky goal, but their defensemen are good at getting pucks through to the net and we saw it on three of the goals. We knew that, so we’ve got to protect the middle of the ice to force them to shoot through us. At the end of the day, we didn’t get it done. We didn’t get it done. We typically do in those situations. We paid the price.”

On the tying goal, Landeskog was able to somehow deflect Brad Marchand’s clear attempt into the middle of the ice to Valeri Nichushkin. He relayed it to Nazem Kadri, who spotted the recovered Landeskog on the right side for the backdoor goal.

“It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to battle that puck out,” said Cassidy. “They made a play when they had to. They got fortunate on the second goal to give them some life, but they made their plays when they had to.”

Then in OT, Mike Reilly tripped Nichushkin and, with 13 seconds left on the power play, Makar sizzled a shot under the bar for the win.

BRUINS DEFENSEMAN  Matt Grzelcyk (upper-body injury) went through the morning skate but missed his second straight game. That left Urho Vaakanainen with Charlie McAvoy as Boston’s top defensive pairing. … Bruins F Nick Foligno (upper body) didn’t make the trip, but F Anton Blidh returned after a two-game absence. … Boston D Brandon Carlo, who grew up an hour away in Colorado Springs, stayed at his offseason Denver home Tuesday night. “My parents came up and my fiancee and baby are here,” Carlo said.

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