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game recap

Avalanche overcome Crosby natural hat trick to defeat Penguins

MacKinnon has goal, three assists to extend multipoint streak for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and three assists, and the Colorado Avalanche overcame a natural hat trick by Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 6-3 win at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

"I'm sure this is a game we'll talk about for a while," MacKinnon said of his fellow Nova Scotian. "We don't play each other much, so for a regular-season game this is one of the fun ones I've been a part of, by Sid getting a hat trick and obviously us getting a big win."

The Avalanche took a 4-3 lead on a goal by Gabriel Landeskog at 10:05 of the third period. MacKinnon passed to Landeskog for a shot that hit the stick of Penguins defenseman Juuso Riikola and got by Tristan Jarry.


[WATCH: All Penguins at Avalanche highlights]


"Well, it's discouraging," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I thought the third period was our best period. We carried the play and we had high-quality chances at that end of the rink and then that one beats you. It's a little disheartening, but that's hockey. That happens sometimes."

MacKinnon scored an empty-net goal with 29 seconds left to make it 5-3, and Carl Soderberg scored into an empty net with 16 seconds to go for the 6-3 final.

Video: PIT@COL: Landeskog pinballs one home for the lead

MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each extended their multipoint streaks to six games.

Crosby scored three consecutive goals, two in the final minute of the second period. He completed his 11th NHL hat trick at 4:43 of the third to tie the game 3-3, scoring from in front after a pass from Dominik Simon. 

"We were back in the game, it was a tie game with 12 or 13 minutes left," Crosby said. "We have a power play that we have a great opportunity on and we don't convert and they come down and score.

"We didn't give up, so that's a good thing. Still, when you put yourself in that position to get back in the game after coming back from three down, you want to at least get a point out of it."

Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Crosby nets 11th NHL hat trick

Colin Wilson, Erik Johnson and Samuel Girard scored, and Philipp Grubauer made 22 saves for the Avalanche (15-6-4), who have won six in a row and are 8-0-1 in their past nine games.

"Our belief and our commitment have been really good and I think it's growing," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "Hopefully we can continue with that. If we keep playing the way we're playing and defending the way we're defending we're going to have success."

Jarry made 20 saves for the Penguins (10-9-5), who are 3-1-2 in their past six games.

"Some guys had a really good effort," Penguins defenseman Kris Letang said. "When you think about Sid and his line … there's a bunch of guys that would pack it in quick, but we stayed in it and kept battling and we gave ourselves a chance."

The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead on Girard's goal at 11:19 of the first period. Rantanen passed from the bottom of the right circle to Girard at the left hash marks for a shot that beat Jarry stick side.

Video: PIT@COL: Girard buries nice dish from Rantanen

The Avalanche got a goal each from Johnson and Wilson 2:39 apart in the second period. Johnson scored at 5:13 for a 2-0 lead on a shot from the right point off a pass from Sven Andrighetto. Wilson was in the slot when he redirected MacKinnon's pass at 7:52 to make it 3-0.

The Penguins closed to 3-2 when Crosby scored 42 seconds apart. He jammed in his rebound on a breakaway at 19:08 and beat Grubauer short side from a sharp angle on a power play at 19:50.

"It was tough," MacKinnon said. "It's not easy when Sid gets going, he starts kind of galloping out there. They have so many weapons that you kind of get a little nervous, but we were confident in our game plan.

"It's cool that we held our composure after giving up a three-goal lead. It is maturity. I think in years past we would have folded. We did a good job, didn't give up a ton."

Video: PIT@COL: Wilson strikes on MacKinnon's coy pass


They said it

"I thought we had a lot of guys that played extremely hard. I thought Sid tried to will us a win with his effort. I thought he was terrific, he was terrific all night long." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan


"Obviously we've been finding ways to create some offense here this season and at this point you just kind of want to keep it going and keep contributing offensively and being reliable defensively. We have to make sure we clean up some defensive stuff." -- Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog


Need to know

Crosby has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. … MacKinnon has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in a six-game point streak, and Rantanen has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in a six-game point streak and leads the NHL in assists (32) and points (42). They trail Wayne Gretzky and Bernie Nicholls (nine games, 1988-89) and Mario Lemieux and Kevin Stevens (eight games, 1992-93) for teammates with simultaneous multipoint streaks of six games or more since 1988-89. Pat LaFontaine and Alexander Mogilny (1992-93) and Brett Hull and Adam Oates (1990-91) also had six-game multipoint streaks. … Grubauer is 6-0-2 in his past eight games.


What's next

Penguins: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, ATTSN-PT, NBCSP, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: Host the St. Louis Blues on Friday (9 p.m. ET; ALT2, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Video: Avalanche double up Penguins for sixth straight win

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