Second verse same as the first. Saturday, Colorado beat the Penguins 3-2, but the Penguins carried the play. On Tuesday night, the Penguins carried the play in the first period, but Colorado eventually overwhelmed the Penguins in the second and beginning of the third period. The Penguins scored a pair of garbage time goals, but lost 6-4 at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.
The New York Rangers and Madison Square Garden await on Thurday.
The rematch had a similar flavor. From the opening puck drop, the Penguins outshot Colorado 20-11 in the first period and outchanced them 12-4, but the opening stanza ended 1-1.
And just like Saturday, the Avalanche claimed a 3-1 lead in the second period before the Penguins could respond.
A few minutes into the game, based on your point of view, Colorado may have been gifted an odd-man rush when Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was tripped while handling the puck in the offensive zone.
Colorado capitalized as Nathan MacKinnon stormed the Penguins zone, uncovered, and slid a pass across the crease to Mikko Rantanen, but Bryan Rust tried to defend the pass. Instead, Rust the pass deflected off Rust’s outstretched stick and into the net. MacKinnon (23) was given credit for his first goal of the game.
The backbreaker was on the way.
The Penguins controlled the rest of the period, and two minutes later, Rust was redeemed. On a three-wide rush led by Sidney Crosby, defenseman Marcus Pettersson set up as the trailer. Pettersson let loose a slap shot from the top of the zone, and Rust (23) snapped the rebound home.
Colorado owned the second period.
After limiting the Penguins to just a couple of shots in the first 10 minutes. Midway through the period, Colorado scored the go-ahead goal. Alex Newhook breezed past the flatfooted Pettersson to the Penguins net. Tristan Jarry made the save on Newhook, but in the chaos, Teddy Blueger lost his man–J.T. Compher (14) popped the rebound into the waiting twine.
Nathan MacKinnon (24) whipped a fadeaway wrister through traffic and over Jarry’s shoulder two minutes later. 3-1.
The Penguins finally pushed back late in the second period. Evan Rodrigues (E-Rod to Jim Colony) blocked a shot at the defensive blue line and cut behind two defenders near the Avalanche net. His chipped backhand fluttered through the crease. Bodies and sticks piled up, and it dribbled over the line, likely with the help of an Avalanche stick. Rodrigues got the goal (18) and needs just two more of a 20-goal season.
However, the President’s Trophy leading Colorado Avalanche scored 61 seconds into the third period. Josh Manson (5) beat Jarry from the point. Late in the third period, Daren Helm (7) sent the fans to the aisles when he finished a two-on-one against a stickless Mike Matheson.
This was just the fifth time this century the Penguins played back-to-back games against a Western Conference team.
With Jarry pulled in the final minutes, Jake Guentzel (33) deflected a Jeff Carter deflection.
Then Mike Matheson slipped a long shot through traffic for the Pittsburgh Penguins fourth goal.