Jean-Sebastien Giguere turned aside 34 shots for his second shutout in 11 days and the Colorado Avalanche edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 on Monday night.
Gabriel Landeskog scored the game’s only goal 5:26 into the second period as Colorado improved to 8-1, the best start in franchise history.
The game was billed as a fight for bragging rights between Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby and Colorado rookie Nathan MacKinnon. The former No. 1 picks both are from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia in Canada.
Instead, Giguere stole the show. Pittsburgh went 0 for 7 on the power play and lost for the first time at home despite outshooting the Avalanche 34-14.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 13 shots for the Penguins (7-2).
The first professional meeting between MacKinnon and Crosby failed to produce fireworks, not that Crosby didn’t try. He pumped a season-high seven shots at Giguere and played more than 26 minutes.
MacKinnon, by comparison, produced two shots in 10:54 of ice time as the Avalanche spent a large portion of the night relying on their penalty killers to hold off one of the NHL’s most potent offenses.
MacKinnon spent most of his childhood growing up in Crosby’s considerable shadow in the town of about 25,000 hard against the Atlantic Ocean. He followed a similar path to the NHL, playing on the same junior team as Crosby and showcasing prodigious talent as a playmaker.
Taken with the league’s top overall pick nearly a decade after Crosby, MacKinnon has a goal and six assists through his first nine games, a pace not too far off the one Crosby set during his rookie year in 2005-06.
Crosby said before the game he’s hardly surprised at how well MacKinnon has fit in but the two brushed aside any talk of a battle for local bragging rights, perhaps because their arrivals into the NHL couldn’t be more different.
Unlike Crosby, whose presence almost single-handedly revitalized a sagging franchise, the 18-year-old MacKinnon is not viewed as a savior, but a piece of what is quickly becoming a compelling puzzle.