Sports

Big Mack: Teen Nathan MacKinnon's spirited play has Avalanche in thick of playoff chase

  • Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, left, loses the puck as Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya, center, and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) defend during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, left, loses the puck as Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya, center, and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) defend during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)  (The Associated Press)

  • Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (26) celebrates his empty net goal with Nathan MacKinnon (29) during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Chicago. The Avalanche won 4-2. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (26) celebrates his empty net goal with Nathan MacKinnon (29) during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Chicago. The Avalanche won 4-2. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save on a shot by Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) as Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) watches during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save on a shot by Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) as Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) watches during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)  (The Associated Press)

Nathan MacKinnon squirmed a bit in front of his locker and tugged on the brim of his Colorado Avalanche ball cap, a little uncomfortable with any sort of comparison to the Great One.

The rookie forward almost apologized for breaking one of Wayne Gretzky's records Thursday in Detroit. With his assist on Andre Benoit's winning goal in overtime, MacKinnon now has a point in 13 straight games, the most by an 18-year-old NHL player. That surpassed Gretzky's mark of 12 in 1979-80.

The soft-spoken teenager said it was "pretty cool."

He suddenly chuckled, before adding, "It's the only record (of Gretzky's) that I'll break."

MacKinnon and the Avalanche host Central Division-leading St. Louis on Saturday, with the Avs just three points behind.