|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 7, 2023
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Attendance: 18,096
Letang's OT winner caps rally as Penguins stun Avalanche 2-1
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By WILL GRAVES
PITTSBURGH (AP) Kris Letang scored 3:36 into overtime to cap a frantic rally as the Pittsburgh Penguins stunned the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Tuesday night.
The Avalanche controlled long stretches of regulation before Bryan Rust tied it with 3:38 remaining in the third period. The Penguins killed a penalty in overtime before Letang won it with a shot from the left circle.
Letang nearly won it earlier in the extra period when he jammed a portion of the puck over the goal line. Colorado goaltender Pavel Francouz managed to push it back out of harm's way before it made it all the way over. Francouz couldn't do the same minutes later when Letang wound up and blasted a shot that became his fifth goal of the season.
Casey DeSmith made 41 saves for Pittsburgh, single-handedly keeping his team in it for the first two periods as Colorado dominated.
Nathan MacKinnon scored his 14th goal of the season for the Avalanche. Francouz stopped 36 shots but couldn't get a handle on Letang's laser that handed Colorado just its second loss in its last nine games.
The defending Stanley Cup champions hardly looked rusty while playing their first game since Jan. 28. The same couldn't be said for the Penguins, who were dominated for long stretches by the younger, faster Avalanche despite coming off the same 10-day layoff.
Colorado recorded the game's first eight shots and 13 of the first 15 as the Penguins got off to another slow start, symptomatic of a wildly uneven first 50 games of the season.
DeSmith, filling in yet again for injured starter Tristan Jarry, held the Avalanche at bay before MacKinnon finally broke through 10:21 into the second period. The star collected the puck in the right circle, then raced by Pittsburgh defensemen Marcus Pettersson before zipping behind the Pittsburgh net. He emerged on the other side, bided his time then threaded a shot from the slot that found its way through a sea of bodies.
The Penguins finally awoke in the third period, peppering Francouz relentlessly. Rust ultimately drew Pittsburgh even at the end of a sequence in which Francouz's ill-advised poke check led to a scramble that ended with Evgeni Malkin feeding the puck from behind the Colorado net to Rust just outside the crease. The puck smacked off Rust's skate, hit Francouz then trickled into the net to force overtime.
Avalanche: Visit Tampa Bay on Thursday night.
Penguins: Begin a four-game West Coast road trip on Friday night in Anaheim.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated February 7, 2023