PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel scored dazzling goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins but Brandon Tanev scored an overtime shorthanded goal for the final and game-winning Penguins tally. The Penguins (5-2-0) won their fourth straight game and beat the previously undefeated Colorado Avalanche (5-1-0), 3-2 in overtime Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins injury issues had a secondary consequence on Wednesday night. Despite dominating the early period, they trailed 1-0. Defenseman Juuso Riikola was pressed into duty as a fourth-line winger. Early in the first period, Riikola stepped forward to hit Colorado forward Matt Calvert but missed. Riikola lost his position and didn’t cover Calvert as the Colorado winger went straight to the net. Calvert (1) was wide open in the slot and ripped it past Penguins goalie Matt Murray.
Crosby continued to remind the NHL that he is one of the best of all-time. Late in the first period, Crosby (4) lept from the bench to join the play when the teams were four-on-four. Crosby skated around two defenders, cut across the slot until Colorado goalie Philip Grubauer sprawled on the ice. Crosby roofed the backhand to tie the game, 1-1.
It was a goal others just don’t score.
Crosby’s shake-and-bake partner Jake Guentzel scored another highlight-reel goal later in the second period. Crosby spotted Guentzel (5) who sliced between two defenders including Ryan Graves. Guentzel used the little space available to flip from his backhand to forehand and roofed a wrist shot for a 2-1 Penguins lead.
The Penguins simple game continued, too. They held Colorado to just 16 shots through the first 40 minutes.
Crosby assisted on Guentzel’s goal and had another multi-point game. He as 12 points in seven games this season and trails current NHL scoring leader Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson by two points. Carlson had a goal and two assists Wednesday night against Toronto. Crosby also has a seven-game scoring streak.
Colorado tied the game early in the third period, then tilted the ice against the Penguins. Just a couple minutes into the period, reliable Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin whiffed on a puck at the offensive blue line. Colorado All-Star Nathan MacKinnon (3) converted the resulting two-on-one.
The teams traded chances and shots in the third period and the Penguins finished regulation with a 31-27 shot advantage. However, those who bet the under were paid as the Penguins barebones roster was not able to generate Grade A chances to get the clincher.
In overtime, Brian Dumoulin’s rough night continued. He was called for an obvious slashing call in overtime and the Avalanche went to the 4-on-3 power play.
But on the kill, the Penguins were the hungrier team and Brandon Tanev turned a MacKinnon turnover into a 2-on-2 rush. Tanev broke wide, following a center-driving Sam Lafferty to the net and his shot hit Gabriel Landeskog’s stick in the blue paint and trickled in for the game winner.