Avalanche send Penguins to 7th straight home loss
Pittsburgh has lost six straight overall.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Peter Forsberg returned from a four-game injury layoff with two goals and an assist, and the Colorado Avalanche extended Pittsburgh's longest home-ice losing streak in more than 20 years, winning 5-3 Saturday night.
Teemu Selanne scored his first goal in 10 games, Steve Konowalchuk added a goal and an assist, and Paul Kariya set up two goals in a predictable result to the matchup of the NHL's best-record team and its worst.
Despite third-period goals by Milan Kraft and rookie Brooks Orpik that briefly cut Colorado's lead from three goals to one, the Penguins lost their seventh straight at home to tie the franchise single-season record set in October 1983. The Penguins, losing their sixth straight overall, will set the record if they don't beat Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Colorado backup goalie Philippe Sauve had another rough but winning outing, threatening to give away the Avalanche's lead despite making 25 saves. Kraft made it 4-2 early in the third, and Orpik -- chosen Saturday with Sauve for the YoungStars game at the All-Star weekend in two weeks -- scored his first NHL goal midway through the period on a seemingly harmless wrist shot from the lower left circle.
Sauve was down 3-0 after the first period in each of his two previous starts, yet Colorado didn't lose either time.
With the Penguins pressing after that to tie it, Forsberg beat Penguins rookie goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with a quick wrist shot with just over four minutes left. Forsberg has five goals and nine points in his last four games.
Pittsburgh doesn't need to be in a slump to lose to the vastly more talented Avalanche, who finished up a 3-0-1 road trip and are 11-1-1-1 in their last 14. The Avalanche haven't lost in Pittsburgh since moving from Quebec to Denver in 1995, going 9-0-1.
The Penguins are 0-8-1 overall against the Avalanche since last beating them Feb. 25, 1999, and are 1-13-3 in their last 16 against the Colorado franchise.
It didn't help the talent-thin Penguins that Forsberg was back after missing four games with a groin injury. He also scored the go-ahead goal 1:15 into the second period -- Joe Sakic had scored nearly as fast in the first period -- to make it 2-1 against Fleury, who was back in goal despite giving up 10 goals in five periods in his last two starts.
Fleury actually played well most of the game while being under constant pressure, once making three excellent saves in rapid succession with the Avalanche on a power play. He also stopped Steve Moore on a breakaway and Sakic on a backhander from close range shortly after Sakic scored 1:22 in off Kariya's pass from along the right-wing boards.