Tough Start, Strong Finish: Pens Down Avs 6-3

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his third period goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the game at Consol Energy Center on November 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Avalanche 6-3. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Down 3-1 after the first 20 minutes, the Pens managed to record five straight unanswered goals - included a four-goal third period - to power their way past the Avalanche Tuesday night.

Obviously there are a number of highlights from this game, but I think Evgeni (or as Versus would say, Evgeny) Malkin's go-ahead goal was probably the top play of the night. Not only was his workmanship a thing of beauty, but the look on his face after his teammates huddled around to pick him up off the ice possessed a "that's how I do it" sort of smirk.

Other notable highlights:

  • Jordan Staal's beautiful give-and-go play to pick up Pittsburgh's first goal of the night. Nothing more disheartening when your team is down to hear a ping off the crossbar, but nothing more motivating than to see that ping off the bar go into the mesh. That's nine goals now for Staal, who after 16 games is only two short of his total over 42 games last season.
  • What do you know? Brooks Orpik picked up his annual goal a bit early in the season this time around. Dare I say he may be on pace for two...maybe even three? Pretty sure he fired a knuckle puck on goal, but he'll never tell.
  • James Neal - bing, bang, boom - goal No. 12 on the season came on the power play, a nice compliment to his two previous assists. Three points in one night proves one thing - Neal was responsible for half the goals against Colorado.
  • Then again, the power play sure as hell had a good number of chances on the night, seven to be exact. If they didn't finish the game with at least one PP goal it would've been a painful post-game observation in the face of a stellar win.
  • And a big thumbs up to Kris Letang as well, who netted only his second goal of the season but added to his earlier assist to collect his 16th point in 16 games.
  • Semyon Varlamov will likely be looked at as the reason for Colorado's loss, but I hope this doesn't overshadow the fact that Pittsburgh had the goods to rally back and win this thing. Understandably there is a bit of a goaltending controversy brewing in Colorado - mainly one that preferably doesn't involve Varlamov starting in goal - so it's bad enough the guy probably came into the game with a fragile state of mind. Combine that with his ability to blow a 3-1 lead and he may have to cool off a bit and channel his Capitals roots once again.

Pens return to action Thursday at 7:30 when they hit the road to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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