BLAKE COMEAU scored 2:24 into overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 1-0 victory over the visiting Colorado Avalanche last night.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots, registering his sixth shutout of the season just hours after the Penguins thought their starting goaltender had the mumps.
Fleury, who recorded the 34th shutout of his career, was tested after missing Wednesday's practice with an illness, but the results came back negative and he was cleared for yesterday's game.
Sidney Crosby also returned yesterday after missing three games with the mumps, as the Penguins managed three wins and five of a possible six points without their captain. They now have six wins in their last nine games.
Comeau's goal was his 11th of the season. He tapped the game-winner past goaltender Calvin Pickard after Evgeni Malkin deflected Rob Scuderi's shot from the point in front.
Pickard stopped 47 shots for the Avalanche, who lost for the sixth time in seven games and have one win in December.
Early in the third Pickard denied Crosby on a breakaway with a glove save. Malkin lofted a high pass to Crosby, who managed to stay onside, but he couldn't beat Pickard with a wrist shot from between the circles.
Crosby returned to practice Wednesday, skating for the first time since his diagnosis. Though Crosby missed a practice last week because of illness, the Penguins believed their captain wasn't at risk for the mumps after he received a booster shot prior to traveling to Russia for the Winter Olympics in February.
But the Penguins announced Sunday that Crosby had contracted the mumps - 2 days after pronounced swelling in his face forced him to sit out last Friday's home game against Calgary.
Forward Beau Bennett also was diagnosed with mumps, which has affected at least five other NHL teams, while backup goaltender Thomas Greiss and defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Olli Maatta - both sidelined because of injury - are all being tested.
The Avalanche, who opened a three-game road trip in Pittsburgh, didn't hold a morning skate as a precaution.
* At Raleigh, N.C., Justin Faulk had a goal and an assist, and the Eastern Conference-worst Carolina Hurricanes broke a six-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the previously surging Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Hurricanes, who entered with the NHL's worst record, had scored only one goal in each game of their skid. Their offensive outburst snapped the Maple Leafs' six-game winning streak.
* At Columbus, Eric Fehr scored 42 seconds into overtime to lead Washington to a 5-4 victory over Columbus, extending the Capitals' point streak to seven games and snapping the Blue Jackets' winning streak at seven.
* At Montreal, Matt Beleskey's third-period goal was the difference as the Anaheim Ducks edged the Canadiens, 2-1.
Before the game, the Canadiens honored Saku Koivu, who retired after finishing his NHL career with Anaheim.