Nathan MacKinnon wasn’t in the mood to speak much after the Avalanche’s defeat at the hands of the Golden Knights.
Vegas won the last four games of the series to send Colorado home after the Avalanche built a 2-0 series lead. During his postgame press conference, the four-time All-Star seemed upset and in a state of disbelief that his team had lost the series.
“For sure, there’s always next year. That’s all we talk about, I feel like,” MacKinnon said to reporters. “I mean, I’m going into my ninth year next year and I haven’t won s—. I’m definitely motivated. It just sucks losing four in a row to a team.
“You know, it felt like last year was our first real chance to win, and this year I thought we were the best team in the league. For whatever reason, we just couldn’t get it together. I’m sure in training camp next year we’ll figure it out and dissect things and come back better.”
Certainly, MacKinnon has a point about Colorado. They tied for the NHL-high in total points during the regular season (82) and swept the Blues in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They had a league-high 197 goals scored on the season and their offense was clicking in the first six games of the playoffs.
However, they faltered down the stretch and that’s what led to their defeat, and to the team’s frustration with the loss.
MacKinnon boiled over at points while answering questions. He was particularly baffled by this question posed by Adrian Dater of ColoradoHockeyNow.com.
“No,” MacKinnon said in a one-word response to Dater’s jumbled query before mumbling some things under his breath.
And MacKinnon shut down questions about the team’s defense being a problem after another reporter asked about what they could fix next year.
“We’re the best defensive team in the league in a lot of categories this year, so that’s not it either. Like I said, we got put on our heels in Games 3 and 4. Those guys are a really fast, big team and they buzzed us hard,” MacKinnon said. “We’ve got a lot of warriors in our dressing room, so that’s not it either.”
Whatever the Avalanche’s problem is, they’ll have the offseason to figure it out. But it’s understandable why MacKinnon was frustrated after the loss, especially given the way that Colorado’s series lead rapidly deteriorated.