Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar lead Avalanche to shutout win at Capitals


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Darcy Kuemper know better than anyone else living in the nation’s capital what Nathan MacKinnon can do with a puck. They were witnesses to his brilliance for one season, the longest season of his career at that. The season he went coast-to-coast for a playoff hat trick. The season he joined them in hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Aube-Kubel and Kuemper received their Avalanche championship rings after the game against their former team here Saturday night. An hour or so earlier, as if to remind them of their season in Colorado, they were once again nothing more than witnesses to MacKinnon’s mastery.

The skilled center dangled Aube-Kubel out of his way then flicked an unstoppable wrister through traffic, past Kuemper and into the top corner of the netting at the far post. His second-period highlight goal helped the Avalanche to a 4-0 win against the Capitals.

The Avs (10-5-1) were outshot on the road for the second consecutive game but won their sixth in the last seven.

Alexandar Georgiev saved 32 shots for the team’s first shutout this season, and he kept Colorado competitive during a first period that looked eerily similar to the previous game, when a 48-15 shooting deficit was the largest of the seven-year Jared Bednar era. The Capitals were outshooting the Avalanche 14-4 during 5-on-5 play at first intermission, but Cale Makar’s 5-on-3 goal with 20 seconds remaining in the period undid the underwhelming start.

Makar’s one-timer goal, assisted by MacKinnon and Artturi Lehkonen, was his 199th career point, bringing him within one point of becoming the fastest defenseman in NHL history to reach 200.


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