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Avalanche rallies for 3-2 win over Penguins

by John Kreiser
Sidney Crosby led the Penguins to a 2-0 first-period lead before the Avalanche scored three unanswered goals to earn the 3-2 victory.
Sidney Crosby did everything Denver hockey fans could have hoped for in his first visit to the Mile High City: He put on a show, scored two goals – and lost.

Crosby beat Jose Theodore twice in the first period to give the Penguins an early lead, but the Colorado Avalanche rallied with three goals in the second period and held on for a 3-2 victory on Thursday night.

The victory was the Avs’ sixth in a row without a loss at home, matching the franchise record set in 1994-95, while the team was based in Quebec. Colorado and Philadelphia (4-0) are the only remaining teams that are unbeaten at home.

A sellout crowd saw Crosby give the Penguins the lead at 10:21 of the opening period when his attempted pass hit a defender’s skate and deflected past Theodore. The goal extended Crosby’s points streak to 11 games.

“It just comes down to bounces, because you need things to go right for you to have a streak like this,” Crosby said. ''I mean, tonight I got a goal off a guy's skate.''

He made it 2-0 at 18:07 during a power play when he took a pass from Evgeni Malkin and ripped a shot from the slot past Theodore’s glove.

“I got a great pass from Malkin,” Crosby said. “The guy that makes the pass ought to get a lot of credit, too.”

Colorado coach Joel Quenneville could only sit and watch Crosby.

“He’s a great player,” Quenneville said. “You can never relax when he’s on the ice. He’s dynamic – he’s so strong and it’s hard to take the puck away from him. It was probably fun for our fans to see a player like that.”

But it was also fun for the packed house to watch the Avalanche rally with three goals in a 3:30 span of the second period.

Defenseman John-Michael Liles got the Avs on the board at 10:26, Wojtek Wolski finished off a three-way passing play 31 seconds later and Ben Guite scored his first goal of the season by beating Dany Sabourin with a backhander at 13:56.

“Even when we were down 2-0, I felt like we were playing pretty well,” said forward Ian Laperriere, who had assists on the second and third goals. “I think it was one of our best games of the year.”

The Penguins had some chances in the third period but were unable to get the equalizer against Theodore, who finished with 25 saves.

“I thought we didn’t give him too much room to maneuver,” Theodore said. “When he’s out there, you have to be aware of where he is on the ice.”

Added Liles: “They have a lot of great players, but Crosby is the guy that gets them going. We keyed on him and he slipped through our hands a couple of times, but we still came out on top.”

Crosby, who’s visiting Northwest Division cities for the first time, had a goal and three assists in Tuesday’s 4-2 win at Minnesota and is showing fans who haven’t seen him in person that he’s every bit as good as advertised. He enjoyed his first visit to Denver – except for the final score.

“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,” Crosby said.

Material from wire services and team media were used in this report.

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