NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 8th (All times Eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (36-16-5) at New York Islanders (22-29-8), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Hoping to avoid a third straight setback, the Colorado Avalanche try to record their first road victory against the New York Islanders in over 15 years as the two clubs clash on Long Island Saturday night.
The Avs won their fourth game in a row when they picked up a victory in the opener of a four-game road trip with Monday's triumph over the New Jersey Devils, but have since lost games to the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.
Colorado was bested 5-1 in New York, then lost by a 3-1 margin two nights later to Philadelphia on Thursday.
Semyon Varlamov allowed two goals on 34 shots and rookie Nathan MacKinnon helped the Avalanche avoid a shutout by scoring with 2:50 left to play for his 21st goal of the season. He beat Steve Mason from an awkward angle below the left circle.
"He made some huge saves, I'll give him some props for that. But like I said, it's funny that a goal like that would go in and not some of the shots that he made saves on," said MacKinnon about the play of Mason.
"Maybe we should have threw some cheesier shots at him from the side of the net or whatever, but we can't have too many regrets, he played well for them."
Colorado will wrap its road trip tonight hoping to avoid its longest losing streak since Dec. 21-29.
To do that, the Avalanche will need to beat the Islanders on the road for the first time since Dec. 8, 1998. They have lost six in a row on Long Island since.
New York has won five of the previous six meetings overall, including a 2-1 overtime triumph in Colorado on Jan. 10 in the first of two meetings this season.
MacKinnon had a goal and Varlamov posted 22 saves, while the Islanders' Michael Grabner scored 1:46 into overtime. Kevin Poulin made 30 saves to pace New York.
The Islanders have skidded to six losses in their past seven games, including Thursday's 4-2 setback to the Calgary Flames.
Thomas Hickey and Calvin de Haan recorded a goal apiece to erase a 2-0 deficit, but the Flames went ahead for good on David Jones' tally with 5:32 left in the third period.
Evgeni Nabokov allowed three goals on 21 shots for the Islanders, while John Tavares notched his 42nd assist of the campaign.
"They got pucks to the net and we didn't," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said of the difference in the game. "We passed up a lot of chances."
Capuano will have defenseman Travis Hamonic back in the lineup tonight. He was activated off injured reserve on Friday after sitting out the past 12 games with an upper-body injury.
Hamonic has just nine points in 47 games this season, but is second on the club with an average of 24:57 of ice time per game.
New York has fallen five points behind Detroit for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, while Colorado is third in the Central Division with 77 points, five back of the second-place St. Louis Blues.
02/08 16:02:43 ET