PITTSBURGH -- Patric Hornqvist scored three goals in 2:47 in the third period for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 6-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.
Hornqvist collected a rebound off a shot from Kris Letang and scored at the top of the crease on the power play to give the Penguins a 4-3 lead at 6:11. He made it 5-3 with a slap shot from the top of the right circle at 7:32, and extended the lead to 6-3 at 8:58 with a wrist shot in the slot.
"I think this is the turning point of our season," Hornqvist said. "It's a great third period, and just keep building every single day from this day on. We'll be fine. ... The two last [goals], they were lucky ones. So you have one of those days sometimes where the puck is just coming right on your stick and you don't think, you shoot."
[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Penguins highlights]
It was the fastest hat trick in Penguins history and tied Ziggy Palffy (March 3, 1996, with the New York Islanders) for the 21st fastest in NHL history.
"I'm just thrilled for [Hornqvist]," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "He's just a terrific person and a great teammate. His energy, his positive energy, it's so evident when he's around our group."
Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Hornqvist sets new Pens record
Casey DeSmith made 42 saves for Pittsburgh (11-10-5), which had lost two straight.
Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves for Colorado (16-7-5), which had its 11-game point streak (9-0-2) end.
"We have to have a short memory," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "That's what we've been preaching when we've been 9-0-2. I don't care what they did yesterday, the day before, the week before that. I'm worried about the next game and that's the way our whole team thinks, and that's the way we approach it. It's why we've been able to sustain the winning streak, or the point streak.
"Now we've lost and the message doesn't change. It's consistent. We want to make sure that we respond and get back at it the next game."
Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin and Derick Brassard scored in the first period to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead before Tyson Barrie, Carl Soderberg and Matt Nieto scored for the Avalanche in the second period to tie it 3-3.
Video: COL@PIT: Guentzel has puck go off skate
Guentzel scored at the left post after Letang's pass hit his left skate to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 2:46 of the first period.
Malkin made it 2-0 at 6:52 on a rebound in front. After J.T. Compher partially blocked a shot from Tanner Pearson, Malkin chipped the puck over Varlamov for his first 5-on-5 goal since Oct.30.
Brassard extended the lead to 3-0 by redirecting a pass from Olli Maatta past Varlamov for his third goal of the season at 7:27.
Compher appeared to score on the power play to make it 3-1 at 14:24, but Sullivan challenged for goaltender interference, and the call was overturned after a video review.
Video: COL@PIT: Malkin chips puck past Varlamov
Barrie, who missed the previous four games because of a lower-body injury, cut it to 3-1 with a slap shot on the power play at 8:16 of the second period.
Soderberg batted in a rebound past DeSmith to make it 3-2 at 9:32 before Nieto tied it 3-3 with a shorthanded goal at 13:17.
They said it
"I think [a 6-3 game is] good for the fans, for sure. Not so good for the coaches. I think they don't like it as much. But we have to move forward. The next game is coming pretty soon (Thursday against Florida Panthers)." -- Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen
Video: COL@PIT: Nieto picks the corner on DeSmith for SHG
"Every time you need somebody to step up, you can count on [Hornqvist]. He always finds a way to produce. Even now, he's always battling. He's always working hard." -- Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta
Need to know
Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole returned to Pittsburgh for the first time since being traded by the Penguins to the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 23. He was then traded by the Senators to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Feb. 26 before signing with the Avalanche on July 1. He won the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017. ... It was Hornqvist's second game since he missed three games because of a concussion. ... Defenseman Marcus Pettersson was plus-1 in 13:54 in his Penguins debut after being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks for forward Daniel Sprong on Monday. He played on a defense pair with Jack Johnson in place of Juuso Riikola, who was a healthy scratch. ... Penguins forward Dominik Simon left in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Sullivan did not provide an update following the game.
Avalanche: At the Florida Panthers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-F, ALT, NHL.TV)
Penguins: Host the New York Islanders on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNP, ATTSN-PT, MSG+, NHL.TV)
Video: Hornqvist's natural hat trick powers Pens past Avs