NEW YORK — After rallying from two goals down early in the second period to take the lead in the third, the New York Islanders didn’t get discouraged when Colorado tied the score late. They kept their focus and beat the struggling Avalanche in overtime.
Ryan Pulock scored his second goal of the game 2:23 into the extra period to lift New York to a 4-3 victory Saturday.
“We kind of dug ourselves a hole to start, getting down 2-0, but we stuck with it,” Pulock said. “Kind of an unfortunate bounce late for them to tie it, but we didn’t go into a shell, we kept playing and we found a way to get it done.”
Jordan Eberle had a goal and an assist, Josh Bailey also scored and Brock Nelson had two assists for the Islanders. Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots as New York, which began the day two points ahead of Washington atop the Metropolitan Division, won for the eighth time in 11 games (8-1-2).
On the winner, Pulock fired a one-timer from the left faceoff circle off a pass from Casey Cizikas for his fifth of the season.
J.T. Compher had tied it 3-3 with 2:45 remaining when his shot deflected in off the skate of Islanders defenceman Devon Toews.
The Islanders took their first lead of the game a little more than three minutes earlier with their third straight goal.
Just 5 seconds after Soderberg and New York’s Mathew Barzal were sent off for roughing, the Avalanche’s Gabriel Landeskog was whistled for hooking to put the Islanders on a 4-on-3 power play. Pulock beat Varlamov just 23 seconds into the advantage on a slap shot from the left circle with 6:03 remaining for his first goal in 16 games.
“It’s been a while since I scored, maybe at times gripping the stick a little too tight, but I was able to get a couple tonight. … I think my last goal was an empty-netter, so before that it’s been a while since I scored on a goalie, so it’s a good feeling.”
Carl Soderberg had a goal and two assists, and Erik Johnson had a goal and an assist for Colorado, which matched a season high with its sixth straight loss (0-4-2). Semyon Varlamov finished with 37 saves in the Avalanche’s 16th loss in 19 games (3-12-4).
Colorado’s last two losses have both come in overtime, also losing 4-3 at Washington two days earlier.
“We kind of let this one slip away from us a little bit,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “It’s disappointing to a certain extent that we were unable to get two points out of this one, but we played two really good teams in their buildings and found a way to get points in both of them.”
Tyson Barrie nearly won it for Colorado 15 seconds into overtime, but his shot went off the crossbar.
Bailey tied it 2-2 at 8:03 of the third, putting in the rebound of his own shot after Varlamov stopped the initial attempt. It was Bailey’s 12th of the season and first since Jan. 18 against Washington.
Johnson pushed the Avalanche’s lead to 2-0 at 2:36 of the second. With the teams skating 4-on-4 after a pair of penalties, he got a pass from Soderberg, skated into the offensive zone and cut to the right before firing it into the top left corner for his fifth.
“When you’re winning, you find extra jump,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. “The adversity — down two goals — it doesn’t bother us.”
Eberle finally got the Islanders on the board with 1:47 left in the middle period. Varlamov stopped Lee’s shot from between the circles but was unaware the puck trickled behind him, and Eberle skated in from the left side and knocked it in for his 13th.
Soderberg got Colorado on the scoreboard with 9:41 left in the opening period when he knocked in the rebound of Johnson’s shot that bounced off the end boards right in front for his 18th.
NOTES: Colorado also went 0-4-2 from Dec. 21 to Jan. 2. … Soderberg has eight goals and four assists in 15 games since Dec. 31. … Johnson has two goals and two assists in his last three games. … The Islanders swept the season series after winning the first meeting, 4-1 on Dec. 17 at Denver. … Pulock now has six points in his last four games. … Nelson has points in four straight games, totalling four assists and five points in the stretch. … Lehner is 12-2-1 in his last 15 games.
Avalanche: At Boston on Sunday to finish a three-game trip.
Islanders: Host Minnesota on Sunday to wrap a three-game homestand.
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