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Video: MacKinnon takes a stick to the face, then dangles through Maple Leafs for winning goal

Nathan MacKinnon

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon celebrates after scoring a goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Coors Field Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


The deciding goal in Sunday’s game between the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs was a beauty from Nathan MacKinnon.

It occurred in the third period, giving the Avalanche a two-goal lead. After Saturday’s embarrassment in Montreal, the Avs rebounded -- sort of? -- for a 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs, despite giving up 52 shots on goal.

Semyon Varlamov’s performance was crucial to the win.

MacKinnon’s goal was decisive. He took the puck in the neutral zone, then took a stick to the face from Leo Komarov and proceeded to deke his way through the Maple Leafs before beating Antoine Bibeau under the blocker.

Certainly not Morgan Rielly’s finest moment defending. MacKinnon could be seen with blood dripping from his lip following the goal -- a result of the high stick.

Truth is, though, that Varlamov completely stole this game for the Avalanche -- a day after a shockingly brutal performance from the entire Colorado team. Winning isn’t sustainable when you allow such a high amount of shots on goal.

But Varlamov gave them every opportunity to remain in this game, allowing for that critical second goal for MacKinnon and his team.