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Penguins Good, Avalanche Just a Bit Better in 3-2 Loss

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, lose to Colorado Avalanche 3-2

The Pittsburgh Penguins (41-19-10) were good on Saturday. They earned scoring chances, skated with energy and maintained their system but they faced the best team in the NHL. The Colorado Avalanche were just a little better and finished one more scoring chance as they beat the Penguins 3-2 at Ball Arena on Saturday.

It was a good accounting but a Penguins loss nonetheless. The Penguins tied the game twice, but Colorado scored less than 30 later each time. Not even a late Penguins’ power play was enough.

Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson scored his 10th goal of the season when he buried a rebound with less than five minutes remaining. However, Colorado defenseman Devan Toews (13) returned the favor 27 seconds later when he was the recipient of a big bounce off the back wall and a yawning cage.

It stood as the game-winner.

The Penguins and Colorado had not played since Jan. 2020. The pandemic shortened one season and necessitated the division-only schedule while keeping the teams apart and depriving the league of Sidney Crosby vs. Nathan MacKinnon, both Nova Scotia natives, and off-season neighbors.

The Penguins had ample scoring chances but not enough shots on the net when opportunity knocked. Rickard Rakell just missed the net with a good look at twine to spare in the first period. In the second period, Jake Guentzel deked Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper, then could not put the puck in the net as his backhand went wide. Even Crosby missed the net from 15 feet in the final seconds of the second period.

The Penguins outchanced Colorado, 30-26 according to NaturalStatTrick.com, and high-danger chances were even (12-12).

The teams finally lit the lamp midway through the second period after a full-speed, scoreless first.

After an Evgeni Malkin turnover, Colorado got a little bit of good luck. Goalie Tristan Jarry didn’t catch Andre Burakovsky’s long-range shot cleanly. Mikko Rantanen (35) swatted the rebound out of the air.

The Colorado Avalanche were 36-2-4 when scoring first. Now 37-2-4.

The Penguins responded well and stacked scoring chances. However, they couldn’t find the net until later in the second period when Kuemper served a pizza in the slot. Crosby (26) whacked it past the goalie.

However, the Penguins enjoyed their tie for a total of 22 seconds.

Nico Sturm chipped the puck ahead for Alex Newhook, who fumbled it in the offensive zone. Newhook tapped the puck backward to a rushing Nicolas Aube-Kubel (8), who blasted a slapshot past Jarry.

Colorado received no pity despite missing their leading scorer and pot stir Nazem Kadri, who was injured Thursday against the San Jose Sharks. Colorado was also missing captain Gabriel Landeskog due to knee surgery and defensemen Bo Byram and Sam Girard.

The Penguins were missing Jason Zucker, who is still being evaluated after a scary crash into the boards on Thursday in Minnesota.

The teams put on something of a clinic in the first period. Neither had a clear advantage in the full-speed, but no space first period. Evan Rodrigues had a breakaway, and MacKinnon streaked past the Penguins defensemen on a three-on-two but didn’t get a clean pass.

After a late period push, the Pittsburgh Penguins outshot Colorado 17-11. Kris Letang led all players with four shots. Overall, Bryan Rust led all players with seven shots.

Overall, the Penguins outshot Colorado 40-38, indicative of the high-event game that was thrilling to watch.

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Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Give up one soft goal in a big game, and there’s a good chance you’ll lose it. Give up two softies, and I guar-an-darn-tee-ya it will happen. Kuemper outplayed Jarry, who has a stinky habit of coughing up goals right after his team scores one. The Lanche played their B team (Byram, Girardi, Kadri and Landeskog out) and still won, but at least the Pens played well enough to get a moral victory out of it. BYW, kudos to Sakic for fleecing the Islanders in the Toews trade. Toews made a huge play on Sid’s attempted SOG in the third… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul
Ryan
Ryan
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

You’re usual brilliant analysis. Kemper had his chest drilled repeated and watched the “best line in hockey” clank breakaway attempts and open feeds behind the D

The lack of defense on all the goals was inexcusable as well. First 2 were very bad…3rd was putrid.

Wasnt
1 month ago

Elevation elevation elevation

Wesley116
Wesley116
1 month ago
Reply to  Wasnt

Agree, agree, agree!

Michael Hanczar
Michael Hanczar
1 month ago

Love Sully as a coach but you put your best D forwards out after you score a goal. Teddy, Boyle and Carter.

Ryan
Ryan
1 month ago

Did he double shift before and after a goal? That’s arrogance x10

Chase Cranson
Chase Cranson
1 month ago

Where was Letang on that goal not paying attention to where the Players were in front of net Yikes on going poor play

Jackmccrory
Jackmccrory
1 month ago
Reply to  Chase Cranson

He’s a Defense liability out there so is Crosby not get back into the play.

Ryan
Ryan
1 month ago
Reply to  Chase Cranson

Crosby and rust were late/cruising…Guentzel was flat footed

Mr Norris was standing flat footed with 2 Avs uncovered at the top of the crease.

In a day of horrific D…that was the icing on the cake

ric jefferies
ric jefferies
1 month ago
Reply to  Chase Cranson

AMEN ! Chris was asleep watching the game. not like him to lapse

Jackmccrory
Jackmccrory
1 month ago

I’d like to see 67 on PP#1. Malkin moved to PP#2 More balanced units. #5 deserves more PP time too. Something has to change before the playoffs.

Ryan
Ryan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jackmccrory

Problem with that is Malkin has been controlling the powerplay/factoring in on most of their goals since he got back

Zane Gearhart
Zane Gearhart
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryan

And malkin is left handed and plays a different spot on PP then Rakell, who is right handed. Can’t do a one timer in the same positions..

ric jefferies
ric jefferies
1 month ago

Its not so much THAT the penguins lost but HOW they lost ( giving up 2 soft goals right after making 2 of their own) that is so disappointing. Avs are really, really good – penguins might have won IF they would have stayed mentally engaged in the present and not “celebrated” scoring goals (in the past).

Crazyhorse87
Crazyhorse87
1 month ago

7 in 12, mental mistakes are going to happen.

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