Avalanche 4, Islanders 3, OT
For nearly 40 minutes, the Colorado Avalanche resembled the team
that has been horrific at home this season.
And then they suddenly transformed into the squad they expected
to be all along, seizing a game that looked to have all but slipped
Kyle Quincey scored a power-play goal 2:39 into overtime and
Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 30 saves, helping the Avalanche rally
from a three-goal deficit and beat the slumping New York Islanders
4-3 on Thursday night.
”It was looking pretty bleak,” Quincey said. ”Halfway through
the second, it was like, `Here go again.’ But we stuck with it.
”I think this is a turning point in our season. We’ve got to
build on this momentum and keep going.”
With the Avalanche on the advantage following a high-sticking
penalty against goalie Al Montoya, Quincey sent a shot in from near
the blue line. Just like that, he lifted the Avalanche’s sagging
spirits by snapping a four-game losing streak (0-3-1).
”It definitely wasn’t our best hockey the first two periods.
But sometimes that is the way it goes,” forward David Jones said.
”Put pucks to the net and find a way to win, especially at
Josh Bailey, Brian Rolston and Michael Grabner scored for the
Islanders, who led 3-0 until the final minute of the second
Then, the momentum shifted.
Montoya was sensational early, turning in one sprawling save
after another. But he surrendered a goal to Paul Stastny with 21
seconds left in the second on a 5-on-3 power play and another to
Milan Hejduk that trickled through his legs with nearly 14 minutes
remaining in regulation.
Jan Hejda tied it at 3 when his shot caught Montoya by surprise,
sneaking into the net under Montoya’s arm.
In overtime, Montoya made a more costly mistake by taking a
penalty that set the stage for the winning power play goal.
”I don’t blame him,” coach Jack Capuano said of the Islanders,
who are 1-6-2 in their last nine games. ”They got to the paint
there, one tried to stop and ran into him.”
Giguere settled in after allowing three early goals in his first
home start for the Avalanche. But nothing shook him late, not even
Grabner running into him and sending his mask flying, and knocking
the net off its pegs.
The Islanders were on the power play for the final 1:43 of
regulation after Daniel Winnik was called for goaltender
interference after colliding with Montoya. But the Avalanche killed
off the penalty to get the game into overtime.
”We had some good chances, but when games are like that and the
momentum turns, you have to play with confidence and make the right
plays,” Rolston said.
To break out of their funk at home, the Avalanche changed some
things against the Islanders.
Colorado coach Joe Sacco started Giguere in net and benched
center Jay McClement, who had played every game this season but has
just one goal.
The team also called a players’ only meeting – not to point
fingers but to emphasize the importance of finishing games at home,
where the Avs won for just the second time this season.
”We’ve got to stop the bleeding right now,” Giguere said at
the morning skate. ”Enough talking, it’s time to have some
Giguere gave high marks for the way his team responded.
”We showed a lot of leadership. Guys were speaking up on the
bench and we weren’t accepting being down,” Giguere said. ”It
wasn’t pretty in the second period, but we found a way to get our
energy and get our legs under us. When we scored that big goal it
gave us a lot of energy.”
The Islanders demonstrated they have more weapons on offense
than just John Tavares, who entered with eight of New York’s 25
goals (32 percent), the highest percentage in the NHL.
On a night when Tavares was held in check, his teammates picked
up the slack.
Grabner gave the Islanders a seemingly comfortable three-goal
lead when he scored off a pass from Matt Moulson midway through the
That was after Rolston fired a shot past Giguere just 34 seconds
into the second. It was the Islanders’ fastest goal to start a
period this season.
Bailey scored his first of the season when he redirected a shot
from defenseman Mark Streit past Giguere.
Avalanche forward Peter Mueller missed another game because of a
Mueller took part in the morning skate, but Sacco said he wasn’t
ready to play. Mueller has been in only three games for the Avs
this season after sitting out all of last season with
”All we can do is stay patient with him,” Sacco said. ”He’ll
get back in that lineup pretty soon.”
NOTES: Avs F Cody McLeod took a stick to the face in the opening
period that cut open the side of his nose. He sat on the bench as
the trainers fixed him up. … The Avs had over 50 shots on net for
the first time since Nov. 12, 2002, against Columbus. … Islanders
G Evgeni Nabokov was scratched, as Rick DiPietro served as