Watch: MacKinnon scores highlight-reel game-winner

MacKinnon’s eighth of the season helped the Avs defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Sunday night. 

A night after they were embarrassed 10-1 by the Habs, the Colorado Avalanche rebounded to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 highlighted by Nathan MacKinnon’s game-winner in the third period.

MacKinnon took a Leo Komarov stick to the face in the neutral zone, despite bleeding, the Avs forward didn’t let up. MacKinnon dangled around Connor Brown before splitting Morgan Rielly and Nikita Zaitsev, and beating Antoine Bibeau for his eighth goal of the season.

“I knew where the puck was and I knew I could beat Komarov because he was flailing and maybe Rielly thought I was done playing and he wanted to poke check, get possession and get the whistle blown,” MacKinnon told the Denver Post. “I guess I took advantage of that and the shot went in.”

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The goal extends MacKinnon’s point streak to four games – he has three goals and two assists in that stretch.

Semyon Varlamov, who allowed six goals on 16 shots in relief on Saturday night, made 51 saves in an excellent bounce back effort.

“You guys don’t know what I went through last night after the game,” said Varlamov. “That was a nightmare. I don’t think I ever played like that (before). I feel like every shot went to the net last night and I felt so un-confident after the game. Today, this morning. I woke up and said, ‘Today is a new day, a new opportunity to win a game.’ That’s the NHL. You have to forget quickly and refocus.”

The win was just the third for the Avs in their past 10 games.