Jeff Carter scored twice, Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 in Denver on Wednesday night.
Sidney Crosby and Brian Rust also scored and Tristan Jarry turned away 28 shots for Pittsburgh (35-26-10, 80 points), which ended a four-game skid and moved a point ahead of Florida for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
J.T. Compher and Devon Toews had goals and Alexandar Georgiev made 40 saves for the Avalanche (41-23-6, 88 points), who saw their six-game winning streak snapped.
The Avalanche played without defenseman Cale Makar (lower body) for the second straight game and Evan Rodrigues, who is in concussion protocol from a hit in Monday’s win over Chicago.
The Penguins were without three defensemen — Jeff Petry (upper body), Marcus Pettersson (undisclosed) and Jan Rutta (undisclosed).
Crosby gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead when he beat Georgiev with a high backhander at 1:11 of the second period, his 30th of the season.
Colorado took minor penalties 49 seconds apart later in the second and the Penguins cashed in on the 5-on-3 advantage when Guentzel knocked Evgeni Malkin’s rebound in out of the air at 4:06 for his 31st goal of the season.
The Avalanche got one back midway through the period when Valeri Nichushkin slid the puck to Compher as he skated in from the blueline, and he sent a soft shot over Jarry’s left shoulder at 11:35.
It was his 15th of the season.
Just more than a minute later Colorado took another minor penalty and the Penguins took advantage when Carter beat Georgiev just inside the right post at 14:12 to make it 3-1.
Toews got the Avalanche back within a goal with his sixth goal, a one-timer on the power play at 10:28 of the third, but Carter restored the two-goal lead when he redirected a pass from Brian Dumoulin at 12:51, his 11th goal of the season.
Georgiev came off for an extra skater with 4:59 left and Rust scored into the empty net at 19:41, his 16th of the season.
–Field Level Media