NHL Hockey

2
Final 1 2 3 OT Tot
Colorado 1 0 1 0 2
Pittsburgh 1 1 0 1 3
3
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET20:00 BRT, October 16, 2019
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 18,458

Penguins' win streak on line vs. undefeated Avs

Colorado Avalanche at Pittsburgh Penguins

  1. Colorado and Pittsburgh have split their last 10 meetings, with the Avalanche winning four of the last six. Patric Hornqvist has 15 career goals against the Avalanche, tied for his most against any single opponent (Cls). Sidney Crosby has nine goals in 14 career games against the Avs.
  2. The Penguins scored three second-period goals in their 7-2 rout of the Jets on Sunday. Pittsburgh leads the NHL in second-period scoring this season with 14 goals and has a plus-five goal differential in the second frame.
  3. The Avalanche are averaging 9.2 takeaways and 8.0 giveaways per game this season, both third best in the NHL. Colorado averaged 6.5 takeaways per game last year, and that 2.7-takeaway improvement is the highest in the league this season.
  4. Sidney Crosby has 10 points so far this season, the second most he has had in the Penguins' first six gams of a season (12, 2013-14). Crosby has registered at least one point in every game this season. Only once in his career has he opened a season with a longer point streak (eight games, 2013-14).
  5. Cale Makar has at least one assist in every game this season and leads all rookie defensemen with six points. In the last 30 years, only two rookie defensemen have had more assists in the first five games of a season (Will Butcher, eight, 2017-18; Ryan Whitney, seven, 2005-06).
  6. The Penguins and Avalanche are tied for second in the NHL with a plus-five goal differential in the third period (Nash, plus-eight). Colorado is one of two teams that has yet to surrender a goal in the last two minutes of any period this season (Car) while scoring seven such goals, most in the league.
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Two teams on a roll will meet Wednesday when the Colorado Avalanche visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Colorado will look to remain undefeated -- the league's only unbeaten team -- as it heads into its sixth game.

"I'm proud of our guys," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of his team's unblemished record. "We've been throwing a lot at them lately, and playing the right way, and the habits that we want to build (are) the most important thing. To me, the results ... take care of themselves.

"We haven't been perfect, but we've improved in the areas that we've shown them (what to do)."

Bednar isn't the only one who believes it's still a work in progress for Colorado, despite the record.

"I don't think we've played our best yet. I don't think we've played 60 minutes yet. We've got to clean some stuff up," Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer said, although he wasn't arguing with the 5-0 start. "Now it's on to Pittsburgh. (We'll) try to keep it going and play the right way."

In a 6-3 win Monday at Washington, winger Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists, center Nathan MacKinnon a goal and an assist, and defenseman Cale Makar an assist. Each of them has at least a point in each of Colorado's first five games.

The Avalanche, who scored their first three shots in Washington, will be playing the second game of their first road trip, and the longest of the season at six games.

Pittsburgh has won three straight games by a combined 16-7.

The Penguins' recent style of play has been born of necessity. With key forwards Evgeni Malkin, Alex Galchenyuk, Nick Bjugstad and Bryan Rust out because of injuries -- and Jared McCann now day-to-day -- Pittsburgh has produced strong two-way play, with few costly mistakes or penalties. The team is preaching it as a simplified approach.

"We're starting to really form an identity that I think is a whole lot of fun," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "When everybody contributes (to) the way this team has come together over the last week, it's a real rewarding experience for everybody involved.

"The energy on the bench has been terrific. The guys are sincerely invested and rooting for one another. They're sticking up for each other out there. If mistakes are made, they're usually mistakes of enthusiasm, and we move by them and keep playing the game. That resilience, that attitude, I think, is so critically important to our team moving forward."

The Penguins seem to be feeding off each other's sense of urgency.

"The way we play right now, it means a lot of energy," defenseman Kris Letang told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "So every time they go over the boards, guys are putting in the work and get rewarded."

Pittsburgh has gotten a recent infusion of extra energy -- and offense -- from a few forwards called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League because of the injuries.

Rookie Sam Lafferty (three goals, five points in four games), Adam Johnson (one goal, one assist in three games) and Joseph Blandisi (one goal, one assist in two games) have provided a spark playing in the bottom six.

They have complemented the Penguins' healthy big guns. Center Sidney Crosby (three goals, 10 points) and Letang (two goals, eight points) have at least one point in each of the team's six games. Winger Jake Guentzel, who scored 40 goals last season, leads the team with four goals.

--Field Level Media

Updated October 16, 2019

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