After confirming their place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Nathan MacKinnon has challenged the Colorado Avalanche to translate their regular season success to the all-important post-season.
The Avalanche, 15/4 to be crowned Stanley Cup Champions in 2021/22, had two goals from MacKinnon on Tuesday to confirm their playoff berth with a 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
26-year-old MacKinnon has amassed 74 points (24 goals, 50 assists) in 54 games this season helping the Avalanche to a 50-14-6 record (106 points) which leads all NHL teams.
Colorado reached the 50-win mark in 70 games, which is the third-fastest of any team in the past 25 seasons, behind the 2018/19 Tampa Bay Lightning (66 games) and the 2015/16 Washington Capitals (69).
The Avalanche set their franchise record for most points in the 2000/01 season when they went 52-16-4 with 10 ties for 118 points.
That season they won the Stanley Cup, defeating the New Jersey Devils in seven games in the Cup Final.
Colorado won the Presidents' Trophy as the team with the best regular season record last season but were beaten at the second-round stage by the Vegas Golden Knights in six games.
The Avalanche have not advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2002, something MacKinnon says they are more than ready to change.
He commented to the media: "We've built a strong culture here. We have a lot of amazing players… but it doesn't mean anything.
"We won the President's Trophy last year. It doesn't matter if you're [ranked] eight or one. We just want to get in and do some damage."