Patric Hornqvist’s third-period natural hat trick Tuesday on a night when Pittsburgh gave away ballcaps lifted the Penguins to a 6-3 win over the visiting Colorado Avalanche.
The Penguins built a 3-0 lead on goals by Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin and Derick Brassard in the first period before Colorado tied it with second-period goals from Tyson Barrie, Carl Soderberg and Matt Nieto.
Hornqvist notched the fastest hat trick in Penguins history, 2:47. He scored on a rebound for a power-play goal at 6:11, on a shot from the left circle at 7:32 and on a shot from the slot at 8:58.
Kris Letang added two assists, and Casey DeSmith made 42 saves for Pittsburgh, which had lost two in a row.
Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves for the Avalanche, which had its 11-game points streak halted.
There were some similarities, though a different outcome, to the teams’ game Wednesday in Colorado. The Avalanche that night took a 3-0 lead, the Penguins came back to tie it on Sidney Crosby’s natural hat trick, and Colorado scored three more for a 6-3 win.
Letang stickhandled down the slot past Colorado defensemen Ian Cole and Barrie before passing across to Guentzel, who let the puck deflect in off his left skate to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 2:46 of the first.
Malkin picked up his first even-strength goal in 16 games when he redirected Tanner Pearson’s knuckling shot past Varlamov to make it 2-0 at 6:52.
At 7:27, Brassard used his backhand to redirect in an Olli Maatta pass for a 3-0 Pittsburgh lead.
Barrie’s one-timer from the center point made it 3-1 at 8:16 of the second during a power play.
Soderberg struck 1:16 later when he swept a shot by Cole past DeSmith to make it 3-2.
The Avalanche tied it at 13:17 on Nieto’s shorthanded goal — the league-high seventh allowed by Pittsburgh — when he cut inside Phil Kessel and scored from the slot.
Penguins winger Dominik Simon left in the first period because of an unspecified injury.
—Field Level Media