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We ain't afraid of no mumps...Penguins, however

Horseshoes and hand grenades, my friends.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Avalanche got an early power play as Simon Despres used a nice little cross check to send Cody McLeod to the ice. Official call was interference. Colorado had some good puck movement and spent most of the two minutes in control of the puck, yet they didn't get a shot on net.

Shortly thereafter, the boys in burgundy and white got another chance up a man. Colorado fan favorite Steve Downie got an elbow up in his former captain's face. Fun fact: Downie already has 118 penalty minutes this season. Still miss him? Anyway, the power play was mostly uneventful with nothing scary for Marc-Andre Fleury.

About halfway through the period, Brad Stuart christened his return with a tripping penalty, forcing the Avs to face the second-best power play team in the league. Fortunately, Colorado has continued it's strong penalty kill, ranking sixth overall, and shut the Penguins down.

The period ended with less than 10 shots apiece, yielding no real threats except a Pittsburgh puck pinging off the post and an Avalanche air ball swatted astern the net.

Six minutes of "a rush down the ice for you, a rush down the ice for me" was interrupted by Dennis Everberg's boarding of Kris Letang, setting Pitt up for another power play. The Avalanche PKers and Calvin Pickard killed it off easily, however.

The Penguins didn't let the unsuccessful man advantage kill their momentum. The team got the first "oh my gosh, I can't believe they didn't score" moment of the game for either team. They became very familiar with wonder that is 22-year-old Picks.

Tensions had been high all game, so it's no surprise that a fight broke out. Also no surprise that McLeod was involved. The guy on the other side was Bobby Farnham.

Another period wound down with comparable shots on net and only a couple of real threats for each team. (Pittsburgh, admittedly, had the better chances, though.) It also remained zilch to nada.

What happens when Sidney Crosby comes screaming into the zone, one-on-one with Pickard? A snappy glove save, that's what.

Despite some early period flair by the Avs (aka Pickard), the third turned into the Penguins' show. Erik Johnson had a balls on the table moment watching Patric Horqvist crawl off the ice after blocking one of his shots from the point.

The two teams couldn't decide things in regulation, so we went into overtime thanks in no small part to the play of Pickard. Sadly, Colorado let another precious two points slip by on some poor defensive play halfway through the extra frame. Please get us some defensemen, Super Joe.

Three Stars

1. Calvin Pickard
2. Calvin Pickard
3. Calvin Pickard

Next up, Avalanche at Sabres, Saturday, Dec. 20th at 5 pm MT.