The game had been billed as a “must see” because it was the first-ever meeting on the ice of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia natives Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon. Both were selected with the No. 1 pick overall in the NHL Draft just eight years apart – with Crosby going first in 2005 and MacKinnon last June.
However, it was a battle of the goaltenders that took center stage, as the Avs’ Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped all 34 shots he faced, while the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury turned away 13 of 14. Giguere put together his second shutout in three starts for the Avalanche this season, and it was his 38th career shutout.
The matchup of division leaders heavily favored the Penguins in the flow of play, as Pittsburgh attempted over 70 shots and possessed the puck for much of the night. However, the high-powered Pens couldn’t beat Giguere, with Chris Kunitz getting perhaps the best scoring opportunity with eight minutes left in the game.
The loss dropped the Metropolitan-leading Penguins to 7-2-0, while the surprising Avalanche improved to 8-1-0 to stay atop the Central. Crosby’s eight-game point streak came to an end, as did Pittsburgh’s four-game winning streak at home to start the season.
It was young Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog who got the Avalanche on the scoreboard with his third goal of the season at 5:26 into the second period, putting a screened wrist shot past Fleury’s glove off a feed from defenseman Ryan Wilson.
Colorado got the job done on special teams as their penalty-kill unit forced the Pens to go 0 for 7 on the power play.
Next up for the Pens: the New York Islanders (3-3-2) visit Consol Energy Center on Friday, and the opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh. Before coming to the Land of Three Rivers, the Isles will host the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
From The Clipboard: Pittsburgh right wing Beau Bennett, left wing Dustin Jeffrey, and defenseman Deryk Engelland were the healthy scratches…Crosby won 17 of his 28 faceoffs while center Joe Vitale won 8 of 10…Monday night’s game was the first of two meetings this season for the Avalanche and Penguins. They will get together in Denver on Sunday, April 6, 2014…The Black and Gold came into Monday night’s game averaging 3.75 goals per game, second in the NHL only to the San Jose Sharks.