Nathan MacKinnon said he didn’t believe it at first when he tested positive for COVID-19.

“I didn’t feel anything,” MacKinnon said.

MacKinnon said he continued to work out at home, expecting to miss 10 days and at least four games to start the season. But he was able to rejoin the team early following two negative tests, flew in late and hit the ice for the first time in eight days shortly before the Avalanche took on the Washington Capitals Tuesday night.

“Not the perfect way to start, but all good. I’m excited to play,” MacKinnon said before the game.

“We’ll take every guy we can get, especially a guy (of) the caliber player Nate is,” Bednar added.

MacKinnon played on a line with Mikko Rantanen, as usual, and Andre Burakovsky.

Gabriel Landeskog served the latter game of his suspension for boarding.

It wasn’t a triumphant night for that line. MacKinnon set up Rantanen’s power-play goal but those two were minus-5 while Burakovsky was minus-4.

After a 6-3 loss, MacKinnon’s season debut drew praise from the other side.

“It’s not easy to come back like that,” Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, who scored twice, said in an ESPN interview after the game. “He looked good today, to be honest with you.”

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