Nathan MacKinnon showcased his world-class speed late in the second period Friday and capped an impressive two-week homestand with a one-on-one score against New York goaltender Kevin Poulin for Colorado’s only score.
Hickey and defenseman Matt Donovan had an angle and gave chase, but they had no chance. Not with MacKinnon’s speed on open ice. The Avs rookie was past both by the time he left the neutral zone and only had Poulin between him and his NHL rookie-leading 15th goal of the season.
MacKinnon slightly pushed the puck left and then came back right about five feet in front of the crease. He went low to the glove side. The rubber hit the net. His arms went in the air.READ MORE >
DENVER -- The road has turned into a comfortable place for the New York Islanders, who defeated the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in overtime Friday at Pepsi Center for their sixth straight win away from home.
"We're battling, we're playing hard," said Islanders coach Jack Capuano, whose team lost 10 consecutive on the road earlier in the season. "Tonight, we had 20 guys going. Not for the 60 minutes, but we picked it up when we had to pick it up. That's what I liked about our team tonight.
"We've been a decent road team. Simple hockey maybe, and doing the right things. Goaltending has been pretty good for us. Our special teams on the road over the last two weeks have been good."
Kevin Poulin stopped 30 shots and Michael Grabner scored at 1:46 of overtime to give the Islanders (17-22-7) their third win in a row and sixth in seven games.
Grabner skated through a crowded goalmouth into the corner, where he almost lost the puck before reversing direction. He moved into the slot and fired a shot past Semyon Varlamov for his second goal in two games.
Matt Duchene was selected third overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and ever since has become one of the top players in the NHL, made evident Tuesday morning when he was chosen for Canada’s Olympic men’s hockey team for next month’s Games in Sochi, Russia.
Only two players’ names were called before Duchene’s in that 2009 draft, and one of them, top-overall selection John Tavares, will be on the opposite side tonight when the Avalanche (27-12-4) takes on the New York Islanders (16-22-7) at Pepsi Center.Duchene has 98 goals in 306 games—he will become the 20th player in franchise history and ninth in Avalanche history to reach 100 career goals—and Tavares has 132 career scores in 335 games.
The two have been friends since their inclusion in the NHL, and their careers have often been compared. Their individual play tonight figures to be a key factor in which of their teams leaves town with a victory.
The Avalanche flies to Minneapolis afterward and will play the Wild tomorrow night.READ MORE >
TV: Altitude, MSG PLUS
Last 10: New York 7-3-0; Colorado 5-2-3
Season series: This is the first of two games between the Islanders and Avalanche. They last played Nov. 10, 2011 at Pepsi Center, with Kyle Quincey's power-play goal 2:39 into overtime helping Colorado rally from a three-goal deficit to defeat New York 4-3.
Big story: Although the Islanders sit in eighth in the Metropolitan Division, they cannot be counted out of the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A team that lost 10 straight road games earlier this season has won five straight away from home and six of eight overall.
"You start to win a few of these and obviously the confidence comes back,'' Islanders captain John Tavares said. "With our group it's a lot of the same guys who were here last year, and we were a team that did a good job late in games. That's what got us to the playoffs [last season]: finding ways to win.''
The Avalanche concludes a season-long, seven-game homestand Friday. It improved to 4-1-1 Wednesday with a wild 4-3 overtime against Ottawa. Semyon Varlamov will start in goal against the Islanders and Saturday night at the Minnesota Wild, according to head coach Patrick Roy.
"I asked him how he felt about it and he said, 'Why not?'" Roy said.READ MORE >
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