Tavares The Hero, Buries Game Winner Late In OT

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Islanders 4, Avalanche 3 (OT)

Denver, CO (Sports Network) – John Tavares scored with just 68 seconds left in overtime to lift the New York Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.

In overtime, Tavares carried the puck from the backboards and slashed toward the net. Holding the puck through traffic, he was able to flip it over Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson’s head for the win.

Jeremy Colliton had two goals and Blake Comeau also potted a goal in regulation for the streaking Islanders, who have won four of five and seven of their last nine games.

Kevin Poulin, who recorded the win in his first career start, was solid between the pipes despite giving up two quick goals in the first period and a game-tying goal with just seconds remaining in regulation. He finished with 34 saves.

The Avalanche continue to slump by suffering their fourth loss in five games and seventh in their last nine.

“I feel like we were squeezing the stick a little too much now,” Colorado’s Milan Hejduk said. “We have to take care of our business at home. We got a point tonight, but sometimes one point isn’t enough.”

Hejduk scored two goals, including the game-tying marker with four seconds left in the third period, and David Koci added a tally in the loss. Anderson surrendered four goals on 27 shots.

The late Hejduk goal came after Colorado pulled their goalie. Poulin blocked Tomas Fleischmann’s initial shot from the right circle but fell to his back. Hejduk was to the left of the crease and shoveled the rebound over the netminder’s head.

“I was disappointed,” Poulin said about giving up the last second goal. “It happened and he made a good play across the net. It hit my shoulder and then went into the net. That’s why I’m so disappointed. I had a piece of it.”

Colorado scored two goals in the first 1:47 of the game.

Adam Foote fired a shot from the top of the right circle and Hejduk cleaned up the big rebound for the first goal of the game.

Just over a minute later, Philippe Dupuis rifled a shot from the right point and Koci tipped it in for a 2-0 lead.

However, New York rallied for three goals — all of which came from the power play — to take a 3-2 edge.

Late on a David Jones slashing penalty, Colliton jammed home a rebound off of Andrew MacDonald’s shot from the top of the right circle to put the Islanders on the board.

New York tied it nearly 13 minutes into the first. With the offense working the puck around the perimeter, Comeau finally ripped a rising slapper from the left circle that went top shelf past Anderson.

“I thought it was going to be a rough one tonight,” Poulin said. “But we seemed to really get the confidence back after getting those two. I started to feel real comfortable.”

Colliton scored from the left slot for his second goal of the game 3:17 into the middle frame, which came off a floating pass from Josh Bailey.

Colliton scored his first and second goals of the season…The Islanders were without starting netminder Rick DiPietro, who did not make the trip after injuring his groin during a 5-2 win over Calgary on Monday…The Avs killed off eight-straight power plays heading into the game. They surrendered three New York goals on four power plays, while blanking on three power-play chances of their own.


New York Islanders At Colorado Avalanche: Islanders Look To Continue Hot Play Against Avs

(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche will try to avoid a fourth straight loss to the New York Islanders when they welcome the Isles for this afternoon's interconference battle at the Pepsi Center.

The Islanders won their third meeting in a row in this series earlier this season when they slammed Colorado, 5-2, at Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 16. Milan Jurcina had a pair of goals in that game and Dwayne Roloson, who has since been traded to Tampa Bay, stopped 28 shots to record the win.

New York is 6-0-1 with a tie in the last eight meetings against the Avs overall, but Colorado is 3-1-0 with a tie in the last five encounters in Denver.

The Avalanche have lost three of their last four games and Joe Sacco's club is just 2-5-1 since a season-best six-game winning streak from Dec. 10-19.

Colorado's most recent defeat came Thursday night against the visiting Coyotes, who received a pair of goals from Taylor Pyatt and 34 saves from Jason LaBarbera in the 2-0 victory at the Pepsi Center.

Craig Anderson was strong with 31 saves in the losing effort, but Colorado was shut out for just the second time this season.

"We played a good game and we had close chances, but we just couldn't bury one," said Anderson.

The Avs have played the last five games without forward Cody McLeod, who has been sidelined with a groin injury. He is still considered day-to-day and is questionable for this afternoon's tilt.

Colorado, which will complete a five-game homestand Monday against Detroit, is 11-8-2 as the host this year, but has lost five of its last six in the Mile High City.

The Islanders were on a three-game winning streak before dropping a close regulation decision Thursday in Edmonton. The Oilers snapped a seven-game losing streak with the 2-1 victory at Rexall Place.

Blake Comeau netted the lone tally for the Islanders, who are 2-1-0 on a five- game road trip that is set to end tomorrow at Chicago.

Nathan Lawson was pulled after giving up both Oiler goals on just three shots in just over five minutes of action. Kevin Poulin spelled him for the remainder of the contest and registered 19 saves.

"You always want to be in there but if that's what it takes to spark the team, I'm a team guy," Lawson admitted. "I just try to stay on an even keel."

Lawson was making just his second career start and Poulin saw his first NHL action in the relief stint. With Rick DiPietro out with an injured groin, one of the two youngsters will get today's start. Poulin figures to have the inside track based solely on his superior performance in Thursday's game.

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