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Game 9 Preview: Avalanche Vs. Penguins

By: Casey Shea
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will look to run their winning streak to five games when they play host to the Colorado Avalanche tonight at CONSOL Energy Center.

The Penguins kept their streak alive on Saturday with a 4-3 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks.

However, the Penguins were forced to come from behind in the third period.

Zach Kassian’s deflection goal at 12:50 of the third period put the Canucks up 3-2, which set the stage for what happened just 22 seconds later.

Sidney Crosby entered the Vancouver zone and fed a cross-ice pass to Chris Kunitz, who quickly fired a shot at the net. Roberto Luongo stopped the initial chance, but left a fat rebound that rookie Olli Maatta pounced on for his first NHL goal.

The game would eventually go to a shootout, where Evgeni Malkin would score the only goal to give the Penguins the extra point in the standings.

This will be a game where something has to give. The Penguins are 5-0-0 at home, while the Avalanche are 4-0-0 on the road.

As for the Avalanche, they are also off to a great start this season under new head coach Patrick Roy.

The Avs started the year 6-0 and are 7-1 overall. In their most recent game, the Avalanche jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Buffalo Sabres and went on to win 4-2.

They currently lead the Central Division by two points over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Matt Duchene leads the team in goals (six) and points (nine).

One other guy to keep an eye on tonight is the No. 1 overall pick from this past NHL Draft. Nathan MacKinnon is tied for second on the team with seven points (one goal, six assists) through eight games. However, he has not made his way onto the score sheet in the last two games.

In goal, Semyon Varlamov (5-1-0, 1.68 GAA, .950 save percentage) has been simply incredible this season. Overall, he’s allowed just 10 goals on 201 shots against.

Against the Penguins, Varlamov is 2-1-0 with a 3.33 GAA and a .895 save percentage.

As for the Penguins, Crosby is already putting distance between himself and the rest of the league in the scoring race. Granted, it’s only been eight games, but his 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) are five better than Joe Pavelski and Henrik Sedin.

Crosby is also tied for the league lead in goals and assists. While he has only played four games against the Avalanche, Crosby has five goals and three assists.

Kunitz is once again enjoying playing alongside Crosby and has already recorded 10 points (four goals, six assists).

In goal, Marc-Andre Fleury’s (7-0-0, 1,84 GAA, .930 save percentage) personal winning streak sits at seven. During his streak, Fleury has allowed three or more goals just twice.

Against the Avalanche, Fleury is 3-1-1 with a 2.62 GAA and a ,910 save percentage.

The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. and you can watch the game on Root Sports.

You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sheavedice

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