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.