PITTSBURGH — The Avalanche was a kick save or a blocked shot from tying the best start in club history Wednesday night.

In overtime, Pittsburgh winger Brandon Tanev scored an unusual shorthanded goal at 3:57 to defeat Colorado 3-2 at PPG Paints Arena. Tanev’s shot — perhaps a centering pass? — slipped past rookie defenseman Cale Makar and caromed in off the stick of forward Gabe Landeskog. Landeskog, the Avs’ captain who was trying to swat the puck out of danger, broke his stick on the goal frame beside goalie Philipp Grubauer and wasn’t taking questions in the visiting locker room afterward.

The awkward goal unfolded while Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin was serving a slashing minor.

“Shouldn’t happen on the power play there, but it is what it is. We get a point out of it,” said Grubauer (30 saves).

Makar, 20, took some of the blame after logging a team-high 23:53 of ice time.

“I didn’t get my stick there in time,” he said of blocking Tanev’s shot. “Inches away. Just another learning lesson for me. If I block that puck, it’s not going in front of the net.”

The Avs are now 5-0-1, a point behind the club’s best start (6-0 in 2013-14).

Superstar Sidney Crosby led the Penguins with a goal and an assist in 24:24, tops among the game’s forwards. Nobody had more than a point for the Avs, who didn’t particularly like how they played.

“I didn’t love our game tonight. I’ll be honest with you,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “Not the whole thing, but I felt all of our lines were a little bit in and out, just not good enough to come out on the road and win. But, third period, I did like our response. We did a nice job in the third, by far our best, but we need a full 60 (minutes) when you’re on the road. We had a couple opportunities on odd-man rushes in overtime, but we just didn’t execute the way we expect to.”

Avs center Nathan MacKinnon, who suffered a bruised leg from a big hit in the first period, tied it 2-2 just 2:56 into the third period. Pittsburgh defenseman Justin Schultz lost the puck at the offensive blue, and Mikko Rantanen took it the other way, playing give-and-go with MacKinnon before MacKinnon roofed it over the shoulder of goalie Matt Murray.

The Pens took a 2-1 lead into the third period after breaking the 1-1 tie with 4:30 remaining in the second. By roofing the puck past Grubauer from the doorstep, Jake Guentzel extended his team lead in goals with his fifth. Crosby set up the play, dishing to Guentzel after taking the puck into the offensive zone.

The Avs scored 3:16 into the game for a 1-0 lead. Matt Calvert drove between the circle and received a centering pass from linemate Matt Nieto near the left wall. Calvert beat Murray with a snap shot glove-side. But Crosby tied it late in the second period on a beautiful individual effort, beating defensemen Erik Johnson and Sam Girard before backhanding the puck past Grubauer from in front of the right post.

Colorado is 1-0-1 in its six-game road stretch that includes two off days in Denver before its Oct. 25 game at the Vegas Golden Knights. The Avs will fly to Florida on Thursday and play the Florida Panthers on Friday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. The trip continues on Monday at St. Louis against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues.

Footnotes. The Avalanche’s three Russians served as the team’s healthy scratches. Forward Valeri Nichushkin and defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who played in the first five games, watched the game in suits with countryman Vladislav Kamenev, the young developing forward who has yet to play this season. J.T. Compher replaced Nichushkin, and Mark Barberio was in for Zadorov. Compher, who began the season as the third-line center, has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury. … Zadorov is a high-priced scratch with a $3.2 million salary. “I just watch all our D play, and I think there’s some areas he can improve on,” Bednar said of Zadorov. “So we got to make a decision if I want to get Barberio back in, and he happens to be the guy tonight.” … The beat-up Penguins played without forwards Evgeni Malkin, Alex Galchenyuk, Nick Bjugstad, Bryan Rust and Jared McCann because of injuries.

Source link