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Playoff-bound Avs finish home-and-home sweep of Penguins

Apr 5, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Penguins center Evan Rodrigues (9) moves the puck against Colorado Avalanche right wing Logan O'Connor (25) during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Nate MacKinnon scored twice Tuesday as the visiting Colorado Avalanche topped the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4 and clinched a playoff spot.

Colorado (50-14-6, 106 points) swept a home-and-home series after winning 3-2 on Saturday.

J.T. Compher added a goal and an assist, and Josh Manson, Darren Helm and Artturi Lehkonen also scored for the Avalanche, who won their fourth in row.

Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 41 saves.

Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist, and Bryan Rust, Evan Rodrigues and Mike Matheson scored for the Penguins (41-20-10, 92 points), who have lost three of four.

Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry made 26 saves.

Colorado opened the scoring at 2:45 of the first. MacKinnon attempted a pass across the top of the crease for Mikko Rantanen, but the puck caromed off Rust’s stick in front and past Jarry.

Rust tied it for the Penguins 1-1 at 5:30 of the first. Marcus Pettersson let go a blast from the left point. Kuemper gave up a rebound right to Rust in the right circle, and he cashed in short side.

At 9:53 of the second, Compher restored the Avalanche’s lead. On a rebound, he lifted the puck under the crossbar from the low slot.

MacKinnon pushed Colorado’s lead to 3-1 with eight minutes left in the second. Burakovsky, from the left corner, fed MacKinnon above the near circle. He stickhandled a couple times, then scored short side.

Pittsburgh closed it to 3-2 with 2:17 left in the second. Rodrigues pilfered the puck at the far blue line for a breakaway. Kuemper stopped Rodrigues’ shot, but the puck rattle around under the goalie’s right pad. Toews inadvertently tapped it into his own net.

At 1:01 of the third, Manson’s shot from the right point sailed past Jarry’s stick to give the Avalanche a 4-2 lead.

Helm’s goal off a two-on-one at 15:03 of the third made it 5-2.

Guentzel closed it to 5-3 with 1:24 left, with Jeff Carter picking up his 800th point on an assist.

Lehkonen scored an empty-netter with 52.2 seconds left, and Matheson scored with 30.8 seconds left.

–Field Level Media