DENVER — Goaltender Thomas Greiss bottled up Colorado’s fast-flying offence, Johnny Boychuk scored his first goal of the season and the New York Islanders beat the Avalanche 4-1 on Monday night.
Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee also scored while Valtteri Filppula added an empty-netter as the Islanders began a four-game trip in fine fashion. Greiss made 30 saves and helped put an end to Mikko Rantanen’s string of 14 straight games with at least a point. The streak was tied for the Avalanche’s third-longest since the team moved to town in 1995-96.
Gabriel Landeskog scored Colorado’s only goal.
Semyon Varlamov struggled yet again, allowing three goals on 20 shots. He’s surrendered 21 over his last five appearances.
New York found some traction on its shaky power play, getting goals from Boychuk and Lee in the second period.
There was a scary moment late in the second when Islanders defenceman Thomas Hickey missed a check on Tyson Jost, slid across the ice and crashed his head and back into the boards. He was helped off the ice by trainers and didn’t return. Moments later, centre Brock Nelson gingerly skated off after being hit in the left leg on a knee check from Ian Cole that drew a penalty.
Lee took advantage to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead heading into the third period. That was more than enough for Greiss.
Down 2-0 in the second, Landeskog tipped in a shot from Tyson Barrie for a power-play goal. It was Barrie’s 207th career assist, tying him with John-Michael Liles for the most among defencemen in franchise history.
This was a bizarre occurrence: Joshua Ho-Sang was called for two separate hooking penalties before the whistle was blown in the second period. He was assessed four minutes, but Colorado couldn’t capitalize.
Eberle staked the Islanders a 1-0 lead with 1:40 remaining in the first period. It was Eberle’s seventh goal of the season and first since Nov. 23.
NOTES: Boychuk was a second-round pick by Colorado in 2002 before being traded in 2008. … F Alexander Kerfoot (upper body injury) could resume skating with the team Tuesday at practice. He’s missed four straight games. … Colorado recalled C Sheldon Dries from the Colorado Eagles of the AHL. The team reassigned D Mark Alt and F A.J. Greer to the Eagles. … Colorado dropped to 1-3-1 over its last five games.
Islanders: Game No. 2 of their trip is Tuesday in Arizona.
Avalanche: Host Montreal on Wednesday.
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press