After a 6-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Monday, the Colorado Avalanche is heading to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins on Wednesday. It is the second game of the Avs' season-long, six-game road trip around the country.
Right wing Mikko Rantanen leads Colorado with nine points (four goals, five assists) while center Nathan MacKinnon has eight points (two goals, six assists), left wing Gabriel Landeskog has recorded six points (two goals, four assists) and defenseman Cale Makar has registered six points (six assists).
Pittsburgh is 4-2-0 on the season and is led by center Sidney Crosby, who has 10 points (three goals, seven assists), and defenseman Kris Letang, who has eight points (two goals, six assists).
The Avs are currently 5-0-0, the club's best start since going 6-0-0 to begin the 2013-14 season. Colorado sits on top of the Western Conference as the only undefeated remaining in the league.
Avalanche at Pittsburgh Penguins
PPG Paints Arena | Pittsburgh, Pa.
Colorado blueliner Ian Cole was a member of Pittsburgh's back-to-back Stanley Cup teams in 2016 and 2017…Avs center Nathan MacKinnon and Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby are both from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and train together during the offseason… Joseph Blandisi was drafted by Colorado in 2012 (sixth round).
Colorado holds a 42-36-10 all-time record and 20-20-6 mark as the visiting team against Pittsburgh and the Avs have won four of the last six matchups. The teams met twice last year with each club winning at home. The Avs and Pens have never faced off in a playoff contest.
In the two matchups in 2018-19, Colorado was led offensively by Nathan MacKinnon (one goal, three assists), Gabriel Landeskog (one goal, two assists) and Mikko Rantanen (three assists).
Avs defenseman Ian Cole made his season debut on Monday after undergoing double hip surgery in the offseason. Head coach Jared Bednar did not speak with the media on Tuesday but the Avs are expected to use the same lineup as Monday's outing in Washington with Mark Barberio, J.T. Compher (lower body), Kevin Connauton and Vladislav Kamenev as the scratches.
Left wing J.T. Compher is still out of the lineup with a lower-body injury. He did skate with the team in Pittsburgh on Tuesday but he has missed Colorado's last two outings.
SCOUTING THE PENGUINS
The Penguins are 4-2-0 after a 7-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. The Pens have scored seven goals in their previous two outings, also earning a 7-4 win at the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. They are in second place in the Metropolitan Division behind the Carolina Hurricanes.
Pittsburgh finished third in its division in the 2018-19 season with a record of 44-26-12 and 100 points. The club fell in four games to the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Pens are tied for fourth in the league with 35 goals scored this season and are tied with the Avs and Washington Capitals for the fifth most power-play goals (six).
The Penguins have earned points in seven of their last nine games against the Avalanche in Pittsburgh (6-2-1).
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby was named the NHL's third star for the week ending on Oct. 13 after he recorded three goals and four assists over four games. He is riding a season-opening, six-game point streak and leads the Penguins with 10 points (three goals, seven assists).
Crosby scored all three goals for Pittsburgh when the Avs hosted the Pens last season and he finished fifth in the league with 100 points (35 goals, 65 assists) in 2018-19.
The matchup against Colorado will be the 950th game of Crosby's career. He has tallied 1,226 points (449 goals, 777 assists) since making his NHL debut, including 13 (nine goals, four assists) against Colorado.
Defenseman Cale Makar has recorded six points (six assists) over five games to open his NHL career. He is the first rear guard in franchise history and just the fifth blueliner in NHL history to have at least a point in e ach of his first five regular-season games. With a goal or assist against the Penguins, Makar can tie the record for the longest point streak by a defenseman to begin his career.
The Avs have won all three of their coach's challenges this season. Colorado was successful with a goaltender interference and offsides challenge against the Boston Bruins on Thursday and overturned a call to no goal with an offsides challenge in Washington on Monday.
Colorado is off to a 5-0-0 start, the club's best start since the 2013-2014 season. Overall, this is the fourth time that the Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques have won their first five games of a season.
Wednesday's matchup in Pittsburgh is the second contest of a six-game road trip for Colorado…The Avs are now the only undefeated team in the NHL after the Edmonton Oilers fell 3-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday…Colorado scored a power-play goal on Monday, extending its season-opening streak to five games with a man-advantage tally…The Avalanche will head south after the outing to take on the Florida Panthers on Friday.