There have been quite a few times lately when the Penguins really haven’t looked like themselves.

Sunday night, they had a pretty good excuse for it.

And they didn’t even need to use it.

So never mind that the two points the Penguins earned in a 3-2 shootout victory against Colorado at Pepsi Center will have absolutely no impact on their playoff prospects or matchup. Or anything else of consequence, for that matter.

The simple truth is that, even though the Penguins have 50 victories this season, few, if any, could be more satisfying than this one.

Not when the Penguins, accustomed to patching together lineups because of injuries to key personnel, ended Colorado’s six-game winning streak with the most diluted collection of talent coach Dan Bylsma has had to work with this season.

Sidney Crosby, who is closing in on his second NHL scoring championship, didn’t play, ending his bid to appear in 82 games for the first time in his pro career.

Neither did his linemate, left winger Chris Kunitz.

Defenseman Brooks Orpik was scratched, too. So was rookie defenseman Olli Maatta, for the second game in a row.

Bylsma said all four have injuries, none of which were specified, that do not appear to be long-term issues.

“They’re injuries that every one of the players has been playing with,” he said. “It wasn’t prudent to [have them play] in back-to-back games.”

The Penguins were coming off a 4-0 loss Saturday in Minnesota, but their effort against the Avalanche was as different as the outcome.

They competed all over the ice. Conceded nothing, sacrificed everything against a skilled and speedy opponent.

“It means a lot to us to go out there and play like we did,” said center Brandon Sutter, who scored twice in the second period. “That’s a gutsy win after a tough one [in Minnesota].”

Sutter was responsible for most of the Penguins’ offense — Jussi Jokinen was the only player to score in the shootout — but goalie Marc-Andre Fleury did more to shape the outcome than any other player.