Apr 6, 2014 11:50 PM by Posted by Greg Smith
DENVER -- Even without Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins found a way Sunday night.
Brandon Sutter scored twice in regulation, Jussi Jokinen had the lone goal in a shootout and the Penguins defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 at Pepsi Center.
Jokinen put a backhand over Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov in the second round and Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all three shooters after he made 39 saves through overtime.
The Penguins played without a number of injured players, including Crosby, who missed his first game of the season because of an upper-body injury. Crosby leads the NHL with 102 points (36 goals, 66 assists).
The Avalanche tied the game 2-2 on a goal by Patrick Bordeleau with 3:13 to play in the third period. Tyson Barrie took a shot from inside the blue and Bordeleau deflected it past Fleury while standing near the right hash marks.
Colorado went on its fifth power play with 37.4 seconds left in regulation when Penguins defenseman Paul Martin was penalized for delay of game. The Avalanche were held to one shot.
The loss ended the Avalanche's winning streak at six games. Coupled with the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues earlier Sunday, the Avalanche's second-place lead on Chicago in the Central Division was shaved to one point (107-105). Colorado (50-21-7) has one game in hand on Chicago (45-19-15) and will play all four of its remaining games on the road.
Pittsburgh (50-24-5) had already clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division and is second in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins have three games left, all at home.
The Avalanche closed to 2-1 when Ryan O'Reilly scored at 18 seconds of the third period. Jamie McGinn was behind the net when he passed to O'Reilly near the right post for a quick shot over Fleury's right arm.
Colorado went on its fourth power play of the game a little over a minute later and had four shots, but Fleury turned all of them aside.
Fleury made a save against O'Reilly and stopped Barrie's point-blank stab at the rebound with 4:20 to play in the third.
Sutter scored two goals 3:22 apart in the second period to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Sutter had gone nine games without a point and 10 games without a goal.
Sutter opened the scoring at 3:46 after he chipped the puck by Colorado's John Mitchell in the neutral zone. Sutter skated down right wing on a two-on-one rush and beat Varlamov with a shot to the far side.
Sutter scored again on a power play, 24 seconds after Avalanche defenseman Andre Benoit was penalized for high sticking. James Neal was behind the goal line when he passed to Jokinen along the right boards for a shot that Sutter, while in a crowd, deflected between Varlamov's pads at 7:08.
The Penguins killed off two Avalanche power plays in the first period and one more in the second.
Fleury stopped 15 shots (five on power plays) in the first period and made another 12 saves in the second.