Malkin got his seventh goal of the season on a power play, and Crosby netted his third of the season, first in seven games and first even-strength goal of the season. David Perron and Chris Kunitz each scored their third goals and the Penguins won their second straight after dropping three of four.
Tyson Barrie got his first score this season, briefly pulling Colorado within a goal in the third period before Crosby helped the Penguins regain a two-goal cushion. Pascal Dupuis chipped the puck ahead to Crosby, and he split the defense and slid a backhander between Reto Berra‘s legs.
Matt Duchene scored twice and Colorado dropped its second straight after winning the first three games of a season-high seven-game trip. Duchene’s second goal with 1:23 left gave the Avalanche life while they pressed for the tying goal in the final seconds.
Duchene has a five-game point streak and has nine goals and 15 points in eight games this month. He moved ahead of Mats Sundin for a pair of franchise career marks – 11th in scoring (335) and 12th in goals (136).
Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves for Pittsburgh. Berra stopped 26 shots for the Avalanche.
Malkin scored two goals and two assists during a win against Minnesota on Tuesday night. This came days after the 2012 NHL MVP called out the Penguins after a loss against New Jersey – their third in four games. They were outscored 6-1 in back-to-back defeats against the Devils and Blue Jackets.
The Penguins averaged two goals through the first 17 games but have scored three or more in seven of their last eight wins.
The Avalanche scored on their third power play of the first period. Duchene collected Jarome Iginla‘s point-shot rebound and flipped one past Fleury with 25 seconds left. The assist moved Iginla ahead of Peter Stastny for 37th on the NHL’s career point list. Pittsburgh has allowed a power-play goal in six straight games.
Pittsburgh quickly jumped ahead in the second period, scoring three times in 2:08.
Ian Cole‘s slap shot from the point deflected off Perron and into the net, and then Malkin blasted a slapper over Berra’s left shoulder 90 seconds later on the power play. Pittsburgh scored three power-play goals in its first 10 games but has seven in its last nine.
Kunitz gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead 39 seconds after Malkin’s goal, a play he started when he forced Berra into a turnover behind the net.
NOTES: The Penguins are 7-1 when scoring a power-play goal and 9-3 in one-goal games. … Pittsburgh has won seven of its last nine against Colorado. .. Iginla is tied for 31st career after playing in his 1,411th game on Thursday. … Penguins’ D Olli Maatta was released from the hospital Wednesday and is expected to miss about a month with an upper-body injury. He left a game Tuesday after a hit from Nino Niederreiter. … D Zach Redmond made his season debut for Colorado. Nate Guenin, a Pittsburgh native, was scratched for the Avalanche in addition to John Mitchell. Pittsburgh sat Daniel Sprong and the recently recalled David Warsofsky. … Colorado’s 15-day trip matches the longest in franchise history and continues Saturday night at Washington before wrapping up Monday night at Winnipeg. … Pittsburgh continues its four-game homestand Saturday against San Jose.