by Tony on 12/04/09 at 12:36 AM ET
One of those out of conference games that didn’t have near the excitement as, say, the Flyers or Rangers, but the outcome of tonight’s Penguins/Avalanche tilt was still in doubt going deep into the third period.
But Bill Guerin’s powerplay goal at 7:15 of the third period broke a 1-1 tie, and the Penguins iced the game away with two empty net goals in the final minute to defeat Colorado, 4-1.
Sidney Crosby had two more goals and an assist, including his 150th career goal, giving him 36 points this season, now only three points behind Joe Thornton for the NHL scoring lead.
Don’t let the final score deceive you, the Avalanche played an excellent game. They were in the Penguins’ faces all night long, apply a steady forecheck and crashing Marc-Andre Fleury’s net on a regular basis.
In fact, they took advantage of that crease presence to draw first blood about five minutes into the game. On the powerplay after an Eric Godard hooking penalty, Darcy Tucker centered the puck to a crashing T.J. Galiardi, who redirected the puck off the far post and into the net, giving the Av’s a 1-0 lead.
For as good a first period that the Avalanche played, they relaxed a few seconds too soon. Evgeni Malkin stole the puck off a nice backcheck, directing the puck to Crosby, creating a 2-on-1 with Mike Rupp. Crosby and Rupp then executed an outstanding give-and-go, with Crosby tapping the puck into the net to the game at 1-1 with only seven seconds remaining in the first.
Colorado nearly tied the game up midway through the second period on the powerplay again when Galiardi appeared to tap the puck underneath Fleury’s pads and into the net, but the official blew the whistle when he lost sight of the puck. One guy’s opinion: Bad call.
It remained 1-1 until the Penguins went on the powerplay, when Crosby faked a shot and passed cross-ice to Guerin, who settled the puck down and deposited it past Av’s goalie Peter Budaj to give the Pens a 2-1 lead.
The Avalanche pulled Budaj in the final 90 seconds, where both Jordan Staal and Crosby got the empty netters.
- Looked like it was going to be another gooseegg for the powerplay, but after Guerin’s goal they ended up 1-for-4.
- Godard only had 4:03 of icetime.
- It didn’t seem like it, but it was a relatively quiet night for Fleury, at least based on shots on goal. The Avalanche were only awarded 16 shots.
- Pens won the faceoff battle 51% to 49%, marking the fifth game in a row they’ve done that. That hasn’t happened in seven years.
- Brooks Orpik led the Pens with four blocked shots.
- Orpik and Crosby each had four hits.
- Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Mark Eaton were all +2.
Next up for the Penguins will be a big matchup against the high-flying Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night at the Igloo.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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