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Pens Points: Avalanche Warning

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Sidney Crosby records natural hat trick but Pens still fall to Avalanhe 6-3. Put the loss behind you with this Wednesday edition of Pens Points.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

An ugly start saw the Penguins fall behind 3-0 to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night but Sidney Crosby willed his team back into the game with a natural hat trick to level the score early in the third period. It looked like the Penguins had all the momentum but Colorado bounced back and walked away with a 6-3 victory in the end.

The Penguins were able to split this two game road trip between the Jets and Avalanche and will now return home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Forget the loss with this Thursday edition of Pens Points...

Three of the four Penguins goals on Tuesday night in Winnipeg came from from the bottom-six which has been a black hole for most of the season to this point. With their performance against the Jets, maybe the bottom two lines are starting to wake up at just the right time. [Pensburgh]

Zach Aston-Reese has shown a lot of promise during his brief time in the NHL to this point which should excite Pens fans. One thing he does really well is drive the net and score dirty goals, something he executed perfectly on Tuesday night. [Pensburgh]

Once the calendar hits December this weekend, the schedule will lighten up considerably in terms of the quality of opponents the Pens will face. If they hope to get out of this early season hole they put themselves in, the Penguins would benefit greatly by taking advantage of this Christmas gift from the schedule maker. [Pensburgh]

As the Pens prepare to enter December and the lightened schedule, they will be doing so fully healthy (sans Justin Schultz) and four lines who look to be set in stone night in and night out at this point. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

News and notes from around the NHL...

After a collision with Jamie Oleksiak on Tuesday night, Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien left the game and went through the NHL concussion protocol. Even after he was cleared to return, questions remained if Byfuglien should have been on the ice. Now, the NHL plans to follow up and make sure the proper protocols were met in assessing Byfuglien. [TSN]

Auston Matthews returned to the ice for the Toronto Maple Leafs last night after missing an extended time with a shoulder injury. Prior to going down, Matthews was one of the hottest players in the league and the early favorite for league MVP. [USA Today]