Avalanche 5, Islanders 2

Cory Wright | Saturday, 02.08.2014 / 11:03 PM

The New York Islanders came within inches of completing a dramatic, third-period comeback, but lost to the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.

Trailing 3-2 in the final minutes of regulation, Brock Nelson’s wrap-around attempt fluttered across the goal line and trickled just wide of the goal. The Avalanche then added two empty-net goals to ice the game.

“There’s a lot of frustration,” Travis Hamonic said. “Maybe another five minutes we get it, but the game's played in 60 minutes and that's the way it goes unfortunately. It leaves a sour taste in your mouth going into the break.”

The Avalanche led 3-0 after two periods, but John Tavares and Lubomir Visnovksy scored power-play goals – both on five-on-three’s – 57 seconds apart in the final frame. The Islanders mounted pressure over the final seven minutes, culminating with Nelson’s dramatic play.

“It’s a tough go and it’s frustrating not getting to where we want to be,” Tavares said. “Clearly as each game goes by, the window gets smaller and smaller.”

The Islanders got out to a hot start, outshooting the Avalanche 8-1 out of the gate en route to a 13-6 margin after 20 minutes. Despite the shot advantage, Nathan MacKinnon’s 22nd was the only goal of the period; a goal that was contested by the Islanders because Gabriel Landeskog crashed into Nabokov, but was upheld by the officials.

Thomas Vanek seemingly tied the score 1:17 into the second period, jamming the puck past a sprawling Jean-Sebastien Giguere, but the officials ruled that the whistle had blown prior to the puck crossing the line.

Matt Duchene opened a 3-0 lead with consecutive goals – including the eventual winner – in a 2:44 span during the second period. First, Duchene came streaking down the wing, cut hard to the net and squeezed the puck through Nabokov. Less than three minutes later, he ripped a one-timer over Nabokov’s shoulder, establishing the three-goal lead on Colorado’s 14th shot.

“If you go back and look at the chances we had during the first two periods…” head coach Jack Capuano said. “We had some unbelievable chances. Give their goaltender credit. He played extremely well.”

Nabokov stopped 22 shots – including all nine in the third period – in the loss, while Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 30 saves in the win. Landeskog and Paul Stastny scored Colorado’s empty-netters.

The Islanders now enter the Olympic break and retake the ice on Feb. 19. Three Isles, Tavares, Vanek and Michael Grabner, will all participate in the Winter Games. The Islanders first game after the break is Feb. 27 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Nassau Coliseum.

NOTES: Travis Hamonic returned to the Islanders lineup after missing 12 games with an upper-body injury… Hamonic played 19:07 TOI… Andrew MacDonald led all Islanders with 24:55 TOI… John Tavares and Frans Nielsen each had a team-high five shots… The Islanders officially did not clear Lubomir Visnovsky to play in the Olympics after the game.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
13:04COL Nathan MacKinnon (22) ASST: Gabriel Landeskog (30), Nick Holden (8) 1 - 0 COL
2nd Period
07:49COL Matt Duchene (18) ASST: PA Parenteau (18), Tyson Barrie (13) 2 - 0 COL
10:33COL Matt Duchene (19) ASST: Tyson Barrie (14), Jamie McGinn (10) 3 - 0 COL
3rd Period
11:17NYI PPG - John Tavares (24) ASST: Josh Bailey (16), Lubomir Visnovsky (3) 3 - 1 COL
12:14NYI PPG - Lubomir Visnovsky (2) ASST: Kyle Okposo (35), Thomas Vanek (30) 3 - 2 COL
19:13COL EN - Gabriel Landeskog (18) ASST: Andre Benoit (18) 4 - 2 COL
19:58COL EN - Paul Stastny (17) ASST: Tyson Barrie (15) 5 - 2 COL
Three Stars of the Game
Matt Duchene
Matt Duchene
G: 2Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 16:34
Nathan MacKinnon
Nathan MacKinnon
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 14:56
John Tavares
John Tavares
G: 1Shots: 5
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: -2TOI: 22:45
Penalty Summary
1st Period
13:51NYI Colin McDonald  Roughing against  John Mitchell
2nd Period
08:25NYI Michael Grabner  Hi-sticking against  John Mitchell
15:02COL Max Talbot  Hooking against  John Tavares
3rd Period
03:01COL Marc-Andre Cliche  Hi-sticking against  Casey Cizikas
08:35COL Cody McLeod  Hooking against  Calvin de Haan
10:17COL Andre Benoit  Hooking against  John Tavares
10:17COL Max Talbot  Delay Gm - Face-off Violation
12:09COL Erik Johnson  Slashing against  Frans Nielsen
15:23NYI Thomas Vanek  Tripping against  Paul Stastny
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/32/6
Faceoff Wins1730
Blocked Shots126
Penalty Minutes126
2N. HoldenD0121016:12
4T. BarrieD0332015:30
5N. GueninD0010018:44
6E. JohnsonD0011225:16
7J. MitchellC0011016:19
8J. HejdaD0011023:40
9M. DucheneC2023016:34
11J. McGinnL0121014:50
15P. ParenteauR0114016:11
24M. ClicheC000128:40
25M. TalbotC0013415:58
26P. StastnyC1022016:32
29N. MacKinnonC1022014:56
55C. McLeodL000029:07
58P. BordeleauL000005:30
61A. BenoitD0120218:15
90R. O'ReillyC0010019:28
92G. LandeskogL1133017:39
35J. Giguere3133.93960:00
3T. HamonicD00-12019:07
11L. VisnovskyD11-23017:43
12J. BaileyR01-12017:37
13C. McDonaldR00-11211:33
14T. HickeyD00-10015:57
15C. ClutterbuckR00-22018:38
17M. MartinL000004:23
21K. OkposoR01-24024:00
26T. VanekL01-13221:55
29B. NelsonL00-22017:55
36E. BoultonL000003:37
37B. StraitD00-20018:36
40M. GrabnerR00-40214:45
44C. de HaanD0003017:58
47A. MacDonaldD00-41024:55
51F. NielsenC00-25015:57
53C. CizikasC000008:34
91J. TavaresC10-25022:45
20E. Nabokov2124.87558:05