Colorado Avalanche beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 on Wednesday night. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Avs overcome Crosby’s natural hat trick, beat Penguins 6-3

DENVER — Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon put on a show that made Cole Harbour proud, and it was MacKinnon who walked away with bragging rights for the Nova Scotia town.

MacKinnon had a goal and three assists, including one on Gabe Landeskog’s tiebreaking score midway through the third period, and the surging Colorado Avalanche overcame Crosby’s natural hat trick to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 on Wednesday night.

MacKinnon’s team won the matchup of hometown stars, but Crosby nearly stole it with his 11th career hat trick.

“It’s not easy when Sid gets going,” MacKinnon said. “He starts kind of galloping out there.”

Colorado won its sixth straight game and is 8-0-1 in its last nine.

MacKinnon, 23, and Crosby, 31, are both former No. 1 overall draft picks. They have become off-season training partners and have made TV commercials together. Those things are put aside when they face each other twice a season, but Wednesday’s game might get a second viewing when they get together.

“I’m sure this is a game we will talk about for a while,” MacKinnon said. “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 one.”

MacKinnon had an empty-net goal with 29 seconds left, his 18th goal of the season. Samuel Girard, Erik Johnson, Colin Wilson and Carl Soderberg also scored for Colorado, and Mikko Rantanen had two assists.

The Avalanche’s top line of MacKinnon, Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, who leads the NHL in scoring with 42 points, had eight points and continues to dominate. Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan didn’t hesitate when asked if the trio is the best he’s seen this season.

“Yes,” he said. “They’re not easy to contain. They’re three elite players that are all on the same line.”

Sullivan has a two-time Hart Trophy winner in Crosby, and he put on an MVP-worthy performance for the Penguins by erasing a 3-0 deficit by himself.

He struck twice in the final minute of the second period. His first goal came off his own rebound on a breakaway with 52 seconds to go, and he scored again with 10 seconds left with Colorado defenceman Patrik Nemeth off for holding. Crosby tied it at 4:43 of the third to complete his first hat trick of the season. He has 13 goals.

“Sid tried to will us a win with his effort,” Sullivan said. “I thought he was terrific. He was terrific all night long.”

Landeskog broke the tie with his 15th goal at 10:05. The Penguins pulled Tristan Jarry for an extra skater, but MacKinnon and Soderberg scored to seal it.

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

Girard gave Colorado a 1-0 lead with his second goal at 11:19 of the first period. Johnson scored at 5:13 of the second and Wilson made it 3-0 at 7:52.

The Penguins challenged Johnson’s goal for goaltender interference but it was upheld upon review.

NOTES: Colorado D Tyson Barrie missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. … Pittsburgh D Kris Letang, who set a franchise record for games played in Winnipeg on Tuesday, had his four-game point streak snapped. … Colorado is 1-1-1 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season. It is 3-1-0 in the first game. … The first penalty wasn’t called until Crosby drew a holding-the-stick minor 49 seconds into the second period. Colorado’s Alexander Kerfoot got a high-sticking minor 19 seconds later.

By The Associated Press

Just Posted

More pet owners looking for assistance in Red Deer

Costly veterinary care sometimes postponed

School jurisdictions prepare for future funding cuts

Red Deer Public Schools faced $6 million deficit

Lacombe’s mayor believes a municipal police force is not more costly than RCMP

Grant Creasy commends Red Deer for studying to find the best policing option

RCMP officer fires gun in violent morning incident west of Red Deer

Blackfalds Mountie stopped to help three suspects whose vehicle was in ditch when it turned violent

Drug bust: Red Deer RCMP seize drugs, cash, vehicles

Criminals are getting creative. Red Deer RCMP have seized cash and vehicles… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Friday The Annual Old-Fashioned Country Christmas is being held Dec. 13 at… Continue reading

Red Deer & District Community Foundation awards more than $48,000 in grants

The Red Deer & District Community Foundation recently named the recipients of… Continue reading

Two adults, two youths from Maskwacis charged in ATV, gun theft

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Break, Enter & Theft and Weapons Offences - Arrests

Boris Johnson claims ‘powerful new mandate’ for Brexit

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it looks like his… Continue reading

Fullback Ashley Lawrence named Canadian Player of the Year after busy 2019

TORONTO — Ashley Lawrence, who played in all 15 internationals in 2019… Continue reading

Experienced leaders Agosta, Mikkelson return to Canadian women’s hockey team

Boy or girl, Meghan Agosta was going to name her first child… Continue reading

Taylor Swift calls out Scooter Braun during Billboard speech

LOS ANGELES — Taylor Swift used the Billboard Women in Music stage… Continue reading

Locals face legal costs after losing land dispute to McCain heiress

HALIFAX — A dispute over access to a strip of Nova Scotia… Continue reading

Most Read