PENGUINS 5, AVALANCHE 1: Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves and Hart Trophy candidate Evgeni Malkin scored his 38th goal of the season as visiting Pittsburgh won its fifth straight game.
Arron Asham and Deryk Engelland scored 1:22 apart in the first period and Richard Park tallied on a breakaway for the Penguins, who led 4-0 en route to their fourth win in a row over the Avalanche.
Matt Hunwick scored for the Avalanche, who remain three points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Malkin made it 3-0 at 5:30 of the second period when he buried a rebound after James Neal’s shot hit the post.
Park stepped out of the penalty box, picked up a loose puck in stride and beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere between the pads at 9:03 of the second.
Asham started the scoring when he cruised into the left faceoff circle and beat Giguere with a wrist shot at 7:55 before Engelland jumped into the play and worked a nifty give-and-go with Jordan Staal and re-directed the pass into the net.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Steve Sullivan added an empty-net goal. ... Fleury is second in the NHL with 34 wins, two behind Nashville’s Pekka Rinne. … Pittsburgh is 11-0-3 in its last 14 road games against Western Conference teams. ... Malkin has a seven-game point streak (six goals, five assists) and is tied with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos in the Art Ross Trophy race with 80 points. ... Pittsburgh is fourth in the East, four points clear of Philadelphia and New Jersey for home ice in the first round of the playoffs. ... Both goaltenders received minor penalties in separate incidents.