Islanders score five straight to rally past Avalanche
ELMONT, N.Y. — The New York Islanders scored five straight goals, including four in the third period, to rally for a 5-4 win against the Colorado Avalanche at UBS Arena on Saturday.
Zach Parise, Scott Mayfield, Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson scored in the third for New York (5-4-0), which was coming off a 6-2 victory at the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday and has won three straight.
“We’ve put three pretty complete games together,” Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck said. “I think we were resilient throughout, but that’s got to continue.”
Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves.
“Very dangerous team, very skilled team. I would say best power play probably in the League,” said Varlamov, who played for Colorado from 2011-19. “So it’s always hard to play against those guys. It was really fun to beat them, I’m not going to lie, because, I mean, it’s a great team, you know? Every time you play against your former team, it’s always nice to win.”
Evan Rodrigues scored two goals, Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist, and Alexander Georgiev made 39 saves for Colorado (4-4-1), which was coming off a 1-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Friday.
“It’s disappointing,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “They turned up the dial in a bunch of different ways.”
Parise cut it to 3-2 at 3:35 of the third period when he jammed in a rebound five-hole on Georgiev.
“I wish I had a couple (goals) back,” Georgiev said. “(They) scored a couple that I wish I had played better on.”
Mayfield tied it 3-3 at 10:39 when he redirected in a diagonal cross-ice pass from Mathew Barzal, and 17 seconds later, Beauvillier put the Islanders in front 4-3 when he shot short side on Georgiev from the left circle on a 2-on-1.
“Everyone kept pushing,” Beauvillier said. “Everyone believed we could come back, and (it was) just one of those games where you get momentum after a goal and then keep pushing, pushing, pushing.”
Varlamov made his biggest save of the game with 2:16 remaining, getting across the crease to rob Andrew Cogliano with his left pad on a backdoor pass.
Nelson then shot into an empty net to push the lead to 5-3 at 18:39.
“I though [Varlamov] was outstanding,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “We were down 3-0, but there really wasn’t much that he could do about it. And I thought when it really came down at crunch time, he made some great saves.”
Alex Newhook got it back to within 5-4 with 30 seconds remaining after Cale Makar‘s shot was blocked in front, but the Avalanche couldn’t get another shot on goal.
“We have a lot of character, obviously,” Lambert said. “They’ve been through a lot in different situations. We’re just continuing to build. It’s good, it’s a good character builder for us.”
Rodrigues scored 46 seconds into the second period on a one-timer from the high slot on a power play to give Colorado a 1-0 lead.
It was the first power-play goal allowed by New York this season (entered 28-for-28 on penalty kill).
Rantanen made it 2-0 at 7:28 shortly after Georgiev stuffed Josh Bailey with his right pad in the crease. Ryan Pulock‘s point shot was blocked by Josh Manson, who passed up to Rantanen for a breakaway attempt that beat Varlamov glove side.
Rodrigues extended the lead to 3-0 at 8:33 when he redirected a shot from Nathan MacKinnon.
“Well of course when they scored three goals it’s upsetting for the goalie,” Varlamov said. “They scored a quick three and I was thinking, ‘The game was even now it’s down 3-0.’ But we scored one and it was helpful being down only two goals. We start believing you can come back in this game, and that’s what we did. Came out and played hard in the third.”
Lambert called a timeout following Rodrigues’ second goal, and Noah Dobson started the comeback with a slap shot from the top of the right circle to make it 3-1 at 9:53.
“I didn’t think we were playing that bad at all,” Lambert said. “[The timeout] was more or less a message. We made a couple of mistakes, and they ended up in our net. That team has the ability to do that. There was plenty of time left in the game. That was the message.”
NOTE: Prior to the game, the Islanders honored Bailey for playing his in 1,000th NHL game against the Hurricanes on Friday.