Jonathan Drouin scores in OT, as Avalanche rally past Penguins 5-4 for 9th straight win

Colorado Avalanche left wing Jonathan Drouin, left, scores the winning goal past Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, right, in overtime of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 24, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Jonathan Drouin scored his second goal of the game 54 seconds into overtime, and the Colorado Avalanche rallied from a four-goal deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on Sunday for their ninth straight win.

Nathan MacKinnon extended his point streak to 18 games with a goal and two assists. MacKinnon has at least a point in 34 straight home games, second all-time behind Wayne Gretzky’s 40-game streak in 1988-89. Sean Walker and Yakov Trenin also scored for Colorado.

It was the Avalanche’s 25th come-from-behind win this season and third time in franchise history they’ve rallied to win after trailing by four or more goals.

“We’ve been great from behind all season,” MacKinnon said. “We get aggressive, especially at home.”

Drouin, who also had an assist, won it when he beat Pittsburgh goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic for his 14th goal of the season. Nedeljkovic, who had 21 saves, was replaced by Tristan Jarry at 5:17 of the third after a collision with Casey Mittelstadt. Jarry had four saves and allowed the tying goal.

“He was the best player on the ice,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said of Drouin. “He was phenomenal tonight. Drouin from start to finish was the catalyst for our offense.”

Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists for his third four-point game, and Bryan Rust, Jesse Puljujarvi and Pierre-Olivier Joseph also scored for the Penguins.

Crosby assisted on Pittsburgh’s first two goals, stealing the puck from Mikko Rantanen and feeding Rust for a goal with 4:49 left of the first period to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.

His 34th goal of the season, off a deflection at 13:47 of the second, was the first of two Pittsburgh goals in less than two minutes. Joseph made it 4-0 with his first of the season with 4:20 remaining.

“You can see in the first half of the game, we played on our toes,” Rust said. “We played in their face and if we do that we can be better than any team.”

Colorado rallied in the final four minutes of the second. Walker scored 15 seconds after Joseph and Trenin’s first goal as an Avalanche with 30 seconds left made it 4-2 going into the third period.

Drouin scored at 3:32 of the third on a pass from MacKinnon. He fed MacKinnon for the tying goal with 4:38 to go. It was MacKinnon’s 44th of the season and gave him 122 points, passing Joe Sakic for the most in one season in Avalanche history since the team relocated to Colorado in 1995.

“I don’t think I’m as good as Joe ever was,” MacKinnon said of the current Colorado president of hockey operations. “It’s a good stat to have but lots of guys are having special seasons.”

Alexandar Georgiev made 30 saves for the Avalanche.

Penguins center Noel Acciari left the game with an injury. Coach Mike Sullivan said he is being evaluated for a lower-body injury.


Penguins: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

Avalanche: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.


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