By Michael Spencer

DENVER (CBS4) – 2018 has been the year of the Avs.

Entering Monday the Colorado Avalanche were a perfect 7-0 in 2018 and were riding a nine-game winning streak, tying the second longest winning streak in franchise history.

Nathan MacKinnon skates against Tony DeAngelo of the New York Rangers at the Pepsi Center on Saturday. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

In the process, Nathan MacKinnon has stolen the headlines recording a point in each of the last nine games including a goal in each of the last five.

“I think it’s cool, just how big of underdogs we were,” said MacKinnon last week.

Through 45 games the Avs already have more wins (26) and more points (55) than all of last year.

CBS4’s Michael Spencer interviews MacKinnon. (credit: CBS)

“No one expected us to be in playoff position,” said MacKinnon. “I think that’s why it’s cool. The expectations were so low and so it’s easy to please people. I’ve learned that.”

While MacKinnon has been given much of the credit, the entire line of MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen has grown into one of the top lines in the NHL.

“I feel like we can read each other’s minds right now,” said MacKinnon. “Hopefully we can click like this for a long time. We have fun together. We’re good friends off the ice and I think that shows on the ice as well.”

(credit: CBS)

The rest of the league has taken notice of MacKinnon’s stellar play, and next week he’ll represent the Avs at the NHL All-Star game in Tampa Bay. He’ll become the first Avs player to make back-to-back All-Star appearances since Joe Sakic did it in 2003-2004.

“It’s an honor,” said MacKinnon. “I love representing the Avs and obviously it’s a cool event.”

(credit: CBS)

Before and after the All-Star break the Avs will be road warriors. Thirteen of their next sixteen games will be on the road including three straight before the All-Star break beginning Monday in Toronto.

Michael Spencer is a Sports Anchor at CBS4. Read his bio or connect with him on Twitter @MichaelCBS4.