Greatness Happened in Colorado

Sidney Crosby’s wizardry vs the Colorado Avalanche was more proof that a couple months from now we’re going to be looking at this 5 game stretch from Crosby where he single handily changed the Penguins season.

The final score ended up being 6-3 after an empty net goal and a late garbage goal but the final score might have actually been spot on as before Crosby’s 3 goals in a 5:34 span, the Penguins were taking a beating where this was setting up to be a 5-1, 6-1 type loss.

The Avalanche a faster team were just coming at the Penguins in waves and waves for the first 30 minutes until Sidney Crosby happened.

“I thought Sid tried to will us to a win with his effort,” said Mike Sullivan. “I loved our fight. It was inspired by our captain,” said Sullivan.

Once Crosby came out of nowhere to take the game over for a stretch, the Penguins still have a way about them where the opposition can sense a major wave is coming and they seem to get in the opponents head like ‘uh oh’.

That was on display with the bad angle goal Philipp Grubauer gave up to Crosby after a bad holding penalty from Nemeth with 15 seconds left in the second period and then early in the third period Carl Soderberg takes an offensive zone penalty that gives Pittsburgh a golden opportunity to go up 4-3 and steal two points.

Instead Gabriel Landeskog scores 27 seconds after the Soderberg penalty expired and the rest is history.

Some Takeaways from the two game road trip:

— Is there a more under the radar superstar in the NHL than Nathan MacKinnon?

It might be the market he plays in and the 9:30-10:30 starts, but there’s is not enough buzz about MacKinnon being one of the NHL’s best players.

He’s McDavid type from being must-watch TV with the combination of a speed-skill-size standpoint.

— Learning to adjust?

These two matchups against the Jets and Avalanche, teams that are both quicker than the Penguins and 1-18 a bit more deeper, Pittsburgh was above 50% in driving possession against both and we might be seeing some signs where the Penguins are learning to adjust where they’re no longer the fastest team in the NHL.

The Penguins prior to the Dallas game started making some tweaks in exiting the zone quicker.

— Think Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel missed playing with each other?

Malkin was quiet 5-on-5 with 1 shot on goal. Kessel was the Penguins worst possession player at 20% as the Penguins were out-shot 9-1 when Derick Brassard and Kessel were on the ice together.

The line created just one scoring chance and Kessel had no shots on goal.

Brassard – Kessel just continues to show little signs of working. When Hornqvist gets back, Pittsburgh’s best route for now should be to see if Rust-Brassard-Hornqvist can get something going.

— Juuse Riikola sure has his liabilities in his own end but the last two games were a good matchup for the Penguins to play him where his skating was a major asset to retrieve pucks and his ability to join the play was very strong vs the Avalanche.

While on the ice for 2 goals against, Riikola was the Penguins best possession player at 74% with the Penguins out-chancing the Avalanche 7-3 when Riikola was on the ice.

— The Penguins end November collecting 11 out of a possible 28 points and are 10-9-5, 25 pts, after 24 games.

Last season the Penguins were 11-10-3, 25 pts after 24 games.

— The Penguins officially claimed forward J.S. Dea from the New Jersey Devils and re-assigned Dea to Wilkes Barre……The Penguins left Colorado optimistic that To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!