DENVER (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins have dealt with plenty of adversity this season, so a couple of unfortunate bounces weren’t going to bother them.
Instead, they became more determined and found a way to win again.
Jared McCann scored at 3:19 of overtime and the Penguins beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Friday night for their fourth straight road win.
Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust and Teddy Blueger each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who recovered from blowing a late lead to pick up two points. Matt Murray made 28 saves and Dominik Kahun had three assists for Pittsburgh, which overcame a pair of late-period goals to win for the 13th time in 17 games.
The Penguins are 3-1-1 since losing leading scorer Jake Guentzel to a season-ending shoulder injury. They’ve played without captain Sidney Crosby for the last two months and have a total of 183 man games lost to injury.
“It was another really gritty, hard win,” Murray said. “And that’s what we needed tonight. That’s a really good team over there, so we just stayed resilient no matter what happened.”
With goaltender Pavel Francouz off for an extra skater, the Avalanche tied the game with 30.4 seconds left in regulation when Matt Calvert tipped in a shot by Cale Makar — the second time they beat Murray in the final minutes of a period. In the second, Gabriel Landeskog flipped a shot from the neutral zone and it took an odd bounce past Murray at 18:20.
Murray shook off both goals and was rewarded when McCann beat Francouz from the slot for his 12th goal of the season.
“I thought he responded really well. I thought he had a solid game,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said of Murray. “Obviously, that fluke goal was a tough one.”
Landeskog added an assist and Nathan MacKinnon also scored for Colorado. The Avalanche are 3-6-2 in their last 11 games.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) January 11, 2020
“Obviously we get the one point, but we came here for two,” Makar said.
Malkin, who got his 640th career assist earlier in the game, gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead when he beat Francouz inside the left post at 15:43 of the third period for his 13th goal of the season.
MacKinnon scored a power-play goal in the first period, his 27th. He has six goals and seven assists in the last eight games.
Colorado fell to 2-5 in overtime and shootouts.
“It’s great for us that we were able to bounce back and tie it with the empty net,” said Francouz, who made 26 saves. “It’s a good point, but I think we deserved two points.”
Malkin appeared to tie it in the first but the goal was waived off because Rust was draped on Francouz with the puck sitting at the front of the crease.
The Penguins did pull even in the second period when Blueger scored right after a Colorado penalty kill before Landeskog tied it with his 11th of the season.
“That’s a tough read. I can’t really expect that kind of bounce,” Murray said. “I’m just trying to get out and play and settle it down so our defense can make the play, and it bounced sideways on me. I just brushed it off as quickly as I could.”
Rust got Pittsburgh even again with his 18th goal 1:14 into the third.
NOTES: Malkin tied Jaromir Jagr for third in assists in franchise history. … Avalanche RW Joonas Donskoi (concussion protocol) was out. He got injured at the New York Rangers on Tuesday. … Crosby missed his 27th game with a core muscle injury but is getting closer to a return. … Samuel Girard had two assists in his 200th career game.
Penguins: At the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday.
Avalanche: Host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
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