The first period started the way everyone though it would. The Penguins came out skating hard, overwhelming the Avalanche. Varlomov made save after save for the Avs. Asham dropped the gloves with Mcleod and nearly pounded his face in. The Penguins had so much more energy than the Avs. However, the tables turned once the Pens got a two man advantage for 50 seconds. With nearly a minute of 5-on-3 powerplay time, the Penguins could not break through the Avs' netminder Varlomov. The Avalanche continued it's impressive penalty kill on the 5-on-4 chance for the Pens. The penalty kill seemed to energize the Avs. The Avs eventually scored after about 15 minutes had elapsed in the period. Jay McClement stuffed home a rebound right in front of the net to give the Avalanche a one goal lead. About 2 minutes later, the Avs found themselves threatening to score again. With the puck possessed by Stastny in the corner, Duchene found an open lane in the high slot and took it. Stastny found him, and Duchene made a nifty between the legs move to his backhand and flipped it past Fluery for a two goal lead. It looked as if the Avs would run away and earn an easy win. The Penguins responded quickly however. Jordan Staal cut to the low slot from the low corner, receiving a pass from Tyler Kennedy and wristing it past Varlomov to cut the Avs' lead in half. The Avs shot back quickly though. David Jones went right through Pens' defenders Deryk Engelland and Paul Martin and fired a shot past the short side of Fluery to reestablish a 2 goal lead.
The second period was mostly all about the goaltenders through the 11 minutes. Both teams opened up offensively, firing on the opposing goalies. Fluery and Varlomov were right on though, stopping some great scoring chances for their respective teams. The Penguins seemed to be showing frustration as the period went on. They continued to get good scoring chances, but could not solve Varlomov, and faced a two goal deficit. That changed after 11 minutes however. Varlomov made a save on Pens' winger Craig Adams and dove to recover the rebound. He was not aware though that the puck was jarred loose by the following contact. Pascal Dupuis pounced on it and flipped it into an empty net to once again cut the deficit to one goal. After that strange goal, the goaltenders continued to shine for each team. The Avs though held on to a one goal lead.
The third period was all about the Penguins. Pens' defenseman Brooks Orpik scored the tying goal after just 1 minute and 12 seconds in the third period, when he fired a slap shot from the point that deflected off of Jay McClement's right skate. The shot looked to be headed wide of the net, but changed direction and fell into the net. The Penguins continued to pour it on, and then it was Malkin's turn to show some moves. He received a pass from Jordan Staal and tapped the puck between the legs of Gabriel Landeskog of the Avalanche. He skated alone into the low slot and beat Varlomov for the go-ahead goal, giving the Penguins their first lead of the night. The Penguins would not stop there. On the powerplay, James Neal was parked in front of the net and received a cross ice pass from Steve Sullivan for an easy tap in goal, giving the Penguins a 5-3 lead with 12:43 remaining in the period. About three minutes later, Pens' defender Kris Letang skated the puck from center ice, all the way into the low slot and backhanded the puck past Varlomov for the Penguins' sixth goal of the night, nailing down a 6-3 win for the Penguins.
1) J. Neal
2) E. Malkin
3) K. Letang
Photos by Justin K. Aller and Gregory Shamux (Getty Images)
Penguins: Next game @ Tampa Bay Lightning 11/17 7:30 EST
Avalanche: Next game @ Minnesota Wild 11/17 6:00 EST