Colorado Avalanche Have Perfect Response to Crosby Hat Trick

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 28: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche prepares for a face-off against Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Pepsi Center on November 28, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Penguins 6-3. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 28: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche prepares for a face-off against Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Pepsi Center on November 28, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Penguins 6-3. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche had the perfect response to Sidney Crosby’s hat trick — three goals of their own, including the game-winner.

Well, the Colorado Avalanche allowing Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby to score a natural hat trick spanning across the second and third periods would have been an insurmountable obstacle not that long ago. Zach Parise‘s hat trick put the nail in the coffin on opening night a few years ago, and even this season Colton Sissons‘ hat trick spelled defeat against the Predators.

Not so with Crosby’s hat trick tonight. The big guns stepped up. The role players contributed. And goalie Philipp Grubauer girded his loins for the remainder of the third period.’

They shut the Penguins’ offense down and scored three more themselves to win the game 6-3.

In total, Cole Harbour star Nathan MacKinnon earned a goal and three assists. Captain Gabriel Landeskog scored his 15th goal of the season and tallied another assist, while the MVP (according to MacKinnon), Mikko Rantanen kept in the lead in the points race with another assist.

Indeed, it was the Who’s Your Daddy Line that led the way in answering Crosby’s hat trick, which brought the score to 3-3. First Landeskog then MacKinnon scored. Soderberg cleaned up the garbage in the end.

Let’s look at how the keys of the game played out.

Battle of the Superstars

Boy, oh, that’s a tough one. I barely hinted that Sidney Crosby might be washed up, and he single-handedly tied a 3-0 game. However, MacKinnon had more points with four.

He also had the best quote of the game, which I alluded to above. When it was mentioned during his first-star interview that he’s the team MVP, he countered with, “No, Mikko is.”

Advantage: Nate.

Back-to-Back-to-Back-to Back…

Both the Colorado Avalanche and the Pittsburgh Penguins were on the second game of a back-to-back series, with both teams having to travel to get to Denver. Now, the Avs had a slight advantage in that they slept in their own beds last night and didn’t have to travel internationally while the Penguins came from Winnipeg.

However, Colorado just had a back-to-back over the weekend, too.

Well, fatigue definitely wasn’t a factor with tonight’s team. That emphasis on conditioning seems to be doing them just fine.

Mental State

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Who are these poised players, and what have they done with my mental Avs? No, really, I already went into their excellent response to Crosby’s natural hat trick — it’s so hard to give up a hat trick and still win the game.

The Avalanche did just that, and it all start with the state of their mentality. They believed in themselves and bore down to get the win. And it should come as a surprise to no one that it was the captain that first answered the call, scoring the game-winning tally midway through the third period.

The Colorado Avalanche have gone 8-0-1 in their last nine games. They are one point behind the Nashville Predators not just for the top spot in the Central Division but also in the whole Western Conference.

These heights are a little scary, eh, Avs Nation? I still don’t want anyone to pinch me in case it’s just a dream — I want to enjoy it just a little longer.

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After tonight, the Avalanche will host their Central Division rival St. Louis Blues before heading out on a four-game roadie to start December.