Does anyone want to second-guess that selection of Nathan MacKinnon with the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft anymore?

The kid from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, is making Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy look very wise indeed for drafting him first overall, because MacKinnon is starting to tear up the league.

Becoming the first NHL rookie since Jonathan Toews in 2007 to post a 10-game point streak, MacKinnon was largely responsible for two key third-period goals in the Avalanche's 4-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in front of a big crowd at the Pepsi Center on Friday night.

"It's not about me. I'm playing with some great guys and they make it a lot easier for me," said MacKinnon, who assisted on third-period goals by linemates Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog in a game that was 1-1 entering the period. "When the (defense) has gaps, they're going to have to turn their feet pretty quick, and that gives me an opportunity."

The math keeps looking better and better for the Avs in the quest for their first playoff berth since 2010. The two points against Phoenix put them at 81 for the season and put more distance between them and ninth overall in the Western Conference. The real race probably is more toward first or second in the Central Division than staying ahead of No. 9.

The Avs really wanted these points too. They came into the dressing room after two periods unsatisfied at a 1-1 game against a Coyotes team that played the night before at Winnipeg.

"Three or four guys spoke up in here, about how big these points were in front of us. I felt pretty good after seeing that," veteran defenseman Cory Sarich said. "We came out with good energy and fed off that the rest of the period."

Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov had an impressive performance in his first game back from the Olympics. He made 40 saves, allowing only two power-play goals, both to Shane Doan.

"I wasn't concerned about Varly," Roy said. "When I saw Varly after the Olympics, I saw a big smile on his face. I knew he was ready to bounce back. Francois (Allaire) had a couple meetings with him about how we wanted to play. Overall, I thought he was really well prepared for this game."

While MacKinnon and his linemates took over the game in the third period, it was defenseman Nate Guenin who got the scoring started. At the 48-second mark of the period, Guenin took a nice pass from behind the net by Landeskog and ripped a shot past Thomas Greiss, who came into the contest 4-0 lifetime against Colorado.