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Avs Earn 3-2 Comeback Victory over Pittsburgh

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
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Jose Theodore
Ian Laperriere

Check out a photo gallery from Thursday's game
Post-Game Notes

The Colorado Avalanche ruined Sidney Crosby’s first visit to the Mile High City – which included two goals from the Pittsburgh captain in the first period – with a 3-2 victory over the Penguins at Pepsi Center.

With the win tonight, the Avs improved to 6-0 at home and matched the franchise record for consecutive home victories to start the season.

“We played well for 60 minutes,” said Avalanche assistant captain Ian Laperriere. “Even when we were down 2-0 I felt like we were playing pretty well. I think it was one of our best games of the year.”

Crosby opened the scoring at the 10:21 mark of the first period when his attempt bounced off the skate of an Avalanche defender and into the goal. His second tally came at 18:07 on a shot from the slot that beat Jose Theodore glove side, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead after one frame.

The Avalanche went on to score three goals in a 3:30 span during the second period to take a 3-2 lead heading into the final stanza.

The Avs got on the scoreboard at the 10:26 mark of the second period with a power-play tally from John-Michael Liles. After a Joe Sakic wrist shot from the point and a scuffle in front of the net - which saw Ryan Smyth make an attempt - a pinching Liles found the back of the net for his first goal of the year. Sakic’s assist on the play extended his assist/point streak to six games (1g/8a).

Only 41 seconds later, the Avalanche pulled off a highlight reel tic-tac-toe play when Ben Guite made a nifty drop pass between his legs toLaperriere. The Avalanche assistant captain then found Wojtek Wolski, who notched his fifth tally of the season at 11:07 to even the game.

With the goal, Wolski extended his career-best point streak to eight games (4g/5a).

Guite added a marker of his own before the period concluded, picking up a loose puck behind the Penguins’ net and putting a backhander past Pittsburgh netminder Dany Sabourin’s short side at 13:56.

The Penguins outshot the Avs by a 12-7 margin during a back-and-forth final period that came down to the closing seconds. Pittsburgh put heavy pressure on Theodore with Sabourin pulled for the extra attacker in the closing minute, but Laperriere sprawled out and blocked a point shot from Sergei Gonchar with six seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Theodore recorded 26 saves to earn his third victory of the season.

"When you get an opportunity to come to a place like this, Colorado or Minnesota, places that support their team a lot and are big hockey fans, it makes for a great atmosphere, a great environment," said Crosby following the contest.

Notes: The Quebec Nordiques also started the season with a 6-0 record at home during the 1994-95 campaign at Le Colisee... Guite (1g/1a) was named the First Star of the game, and Laperriere (2a) was named the Second Star, while Crosby (2g) earned Third Star status…Tonight’s game featured each of the three finalists for last season’s Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year. Evgeni Malkin won the award, with Paul Stastny finishing second in the voting and Jordan Staal third.
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