Sidney Crosby left little doubt about who remains the best player from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and that is fine by Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche, who will settle for one of the best records in the NHL.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere turned aside 34 shots as the surprising Avalanche edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 on Monday night to improve their win-loss record to 8-1 this season.
“It’s a new season, new attitude,” Giguere said. “I would have believed being over .500 [early], but not 8-1.”
In Monday’s other games, Logan Couture scored in a shootout as the San Jose Sharks beat the Detroit Red Wings 1-0 and T.J. Brodie scored the tiebreaking power-play goal with 29.7 seconds to play to help the Calgary Flames edge the Los Angeles Kings 3-2.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gabriel Landeskog scored the game’s only goal 5:26 into the second period and Giguere made it stand, posting his second shutout in 11 days.
The 36-year-old handled the Boston Bruins on the road on Oct. 10 and might have been even better against the Penguins.
The first professional meeting between MacKinnon and Crosby failed to produce fireworks — not that Crosby did not 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. Pittsburgh went none for seven on the power play, generating numerous scoring chances, but not a goal.
“We did a lot of good things and probably deserved better,” Crosby said. “That’s how the game works sometimes. Sometimes you don’t deserve them and you find a way to win, and tonight we deserved better and didn’t find a way to win.”
MacKinnon spent most of his childhood growing up in Crosby’s considerable shadow in the town of about 25,000 near the Atlantic Ocean. He followed a similar path to the NHL, playing on the same junior team Crosby once starred for and showcasing prodigious talent as a playmaker.
Taken as the draft’s top 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 season in 2005-2006.
The San Jose Sharks proved they can play pretty well defensively, too, after scoring 39 goals in their first eight games. After the win over the Red Wings, they are the NHL’s last team without a regulation loss this season.
“We scored a lot of goals in our first eight games. We’re not going to keep scoring like that,” Couture said.
Each goalie got a shutout for not allowing a goal in 65 minutes.
Antti Niemi — who got his 24th career shutout — made 24 saves for San Jose and Jimmy Howard, who earned his 17th shutout, stopped 27 shots.
In Los Angeles, the Flames were awarded a power play with 2:12 left in regulation when Dennis Wideman fell to the ice near the benches, drawing a hooking penalty on Anze Kopitar.
Brodie collected a bouncing puck in the slot and beat Jonathan Quick for the third power-play goal of the night for the Flames.
Mike Cammalleri scored on his season debut for the Flames and rookie Sean Monahan added another power-play goal in the second period. Karri Ramo stopped 27 shots in his first victory for Calgary.
Jeff Carter scored a tying short-handed goal late in the second period for the Kings, who had won 17 of their previous 19 home games.
Quick made 22 saves and Drew Doughty scored an early power-play goal in just Los Angeles’ second loss in seven games.