Aftermath: Penguins 4, Avalanche 1
Thursday, 12.3.2009 / 10:52 PM ET / Features
By Sam Kasan
|The Penguins struggled in the opening two periods against Colorado and were playing on their heels for a majority of the time. But Pittsburgh was able to limit the Avalanche to just one goal, thanks to some good work in net by Marc-Andre Fleury.
Pittsburgh turned the tide with one of its most dominating third periods of the season. The Penguins blew open a 1-1 game with three goals, countless chances and a 14-1 advantage in shots.
Though the Penguins did not play their best game, they were strong late in the game when it counted and found a way to pull out their NHL-best 20th victory of the season.
|PITTSBURGH (AP) - Sidney Crosby had two goals and an assist for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won for the sixth time in seven games by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Thursday night.
Crosby scored in the first period, added an empty-net goal, and assisted on Bill Guerin's winning tally with 12:45 left in regulation to give him 11 points in three games.
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT|
Bill Guerin celebrates after netting the game-winning power-play goal
(photo by Getty)
|What Worked Well: Fighting Through
The Penguins did not get the start they wanted (see below) or play to the level that they expect of themselves. However, they fought through the difficulties and still came out with a victory. Pittsburgh can’t expect a perfect game every night but it handled the struggles like good teams do, finding a way to win.
What Could Have Gone Better: Slow Start
The Penguins' game plan in every contest is to establish themselves in the offensive zone and get to their game early. But it was Colorado, which won a shootout contest in Florida the day before, that started the game at full speed. The Avalanche came out strong, established a forecheck, won puck battles and frustrated the Penguins in the opening period.
|Sidney Crosby scored two goals and added an assist for a three-point night for Pittsburgh. Crosby set up Pittsburgh’s game-winning goal on a power play with a beautiful fake shot and pass to Bill Guerin, who buried the puck.
Crosby recorded a plus-2 rating, two shots, four hits and won 57 percent of his faceoffs (13 of 23). Crosby now has 11 points (7G-4A) in the past three contests.
|The Avalanche struck first five minutes into the opening frame with a power-play goal. Wojtek Wolski had the puck above the far circle and threw a puck to Darcy Tucker below the goal line. Tucker sent a pass to T.J. Galiardi in the crease. Galiardi re-directed the puck between the pads of Marc-Andre Fleury for the score. Colorado 1, Pittsburgh 0.
The Penguins tied the game with a score with six seconds left in the first period. Evgeni Malkin started the play by creating a turnover in his own zone and chipping the puck ahead to Mike Rupp. Rupp moved the puck to Sidney Crosby and the two entered the Colorado zone with a two-on-one. Crosby passed the puck to Rupp, who immediately gave it back to Crosby. The Penguins captain easily slid the puck into the wide-open net. Pittsburgh 1, Colorado 1.
The Penguins struck for a power-play goal to take the lead in the third period. Pittsburgh was working on a five-on-three opportunity. Crosby faked a slap shot, fooling Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj, and then sent a cross-ice pass to Bill Guerin to the far side of the net. Guerin had trouble handling the pass but he managed to calm the puck and lift a shot into the netting over a sprawled out Budaj. Pittsburgh 2, Colorado 1.
Jordan Staal sealed the game for Pittsburgh by netting an empty-goal score with less than a minute left in the game. Pittsburgh 3, Colorado 1.
The Penguins added another empty-net tally when Crosby buried his second of the night after some nice passing by the team. Pittsburgh 4, Colorado 1.
|The Penguins dodged a huge bullet while killing a power play in the second period. With the score tied at 1-1, Colorado’s T.J. Galiardi appeared to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead when he jammed a covered puck over the goal line. However, the whistle had already blown and the goal was negated.
The Penguins held their annual “Toys for Tots” toy drive at Mellon Arena on Thursday night. Fans generously contributed toys and cash, all of which will be donated to the U.S. Marine Corps’ “Toys for Tots” Program for distribution to underprivileged families in the Pittsburgh area. In total 1,275 toys and $4,840 were collected.
|> Pittsburgh improved to 20-9 on the season with a 10-4 mark at Mellon Arena. The Penguins have won their last five straight games at the Igloo.
> With the victory, the Penguins became the first team in the NHL to get 20 wins.
> Scoring Summary:
COL, T.Galiardi (3), 5:02 1st period: Avalanche 1, Penguins 0
PIT, S.Crosby (18), 19:53 1st period: Penguins 1, Avalanche 1
PIT, B.Guerin PP (7), 7:15 3rd period: Penguins 2, Avalanche 1
PIT, J.Staal (7), 19:11 3rd period: Penguins 3, Avalanche 1
PIT, S.Crosby (19), 19:29 3rd period: Penguins 4, Avalanche 1
> The Penguins are now 38-12-4 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 20-5-1 at Mellon Arena.
> With the victory, the Penguins now boast a 7-6-2 all-time record in their blue “third jerseys.”
> Since Bylsma took over as head coach the Penguins have a record of 27-0 when scoring four or more goals, including a 13-0 mark in ’09-10.
> The Penguins are 16-2 when registering 30 or more shots in a game this season.
> Sidney Crosby scored two goals against Colorado, his sixth and seventh in the past three games, and added an assist for a three-point night. Crosby now has 11 points (7G-4A) in the past three contests.
> Crosby now has seven goals in his last three games, the best three-game scoring stretch of his career.
> Evgeni Malkin posted three assists versus the Avalanche. He has 14 points (4G-10A) in his last 10 games.
> Bill Guerin scored the game-winning power-play goal for Pittsburgh. He now has a three-game scoring streak (1G-2A).
> Jordan Staal posted two points (1G-1A) against Colorado. He now has 10 points (3G-7A) in his last 10 games.
> Mike Rupp recorded an assist against Colorado and now has four points in his last two games. He posted his first career hat trick in Pittsburgh’s 5-2 win at New York Rangers on Monday.
|THREE STARS||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT|
|"Good teams have to find a way to win and
that's what we did here."
- Brooks Orpik
Author: Sam Kasan