DENVER (AP) — John Tavares scored the winner 3:52 into overtime and Kevin Poulin stopped 34 shots in his first NHL start, lifting the New York Islanders to a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
Jeremy Colliton scored twice and Blake Comeau added a goal as the Islanders won for the fourth time in five games.
Tavares cut across in front of the net and put a wrist shot over Craig Anderson for the decisive goal.
It came moments after the Avalanche tied it with 4 seconds remaining in regulation when Milan Hejduk sent in a backhanded shot from the side. It was Hejduk’s second goal of the game.
Colliton was playing in his first game of the season for New York after being called up the day before. He had one career goal entering the contest, but scored twice on the power play.
Poulin was shaky at the start, giving up quick goals to Hejduk and David Koci just 1:47 into the contest. But he settled in from there, keeping the fourth-highest scoring team in check until Hejduk’s late goal with Anderson pulled for an extra skater.
The 20-year-old came up big on a power play midway through the third period when he deflected John-Michael Liles’ slap shot with his blocker pad and then prevented Hejduk from sneaking in a loose puck by sticking out his left leg.
It was that kind of afternoon for the Avalanche, who have cooled since a six-game winning streak was snapped, going 2-6-1.
After spotting the Avalanche a 2-0 lead in the opening 2 minutes, the Islanders stormed back as Colliton and Comeau each scored on power plays in the first period.
The Avalanche had been nearly flawless lately at killing penalties — 20 of 21 over the last five games — but gave up three to New York.
The Islanders were again solid in that area, running their streak of not allowing a power-play goal to five games. They’ve killed 13 straight penalties during that stretch.
Poulin got off to a rocky start as he surrendered two quick goals. Hejduk scored 45 seconds in, the quickest to begin a game for Colorado this season, and Koci added another 1:02 later.
But Poulin settled in as he stopped 10 shots in the first period and another 11 in the second, including one in which he smothered the puck just before it rolled into the goal. A quick review upheld the ruling on the ice.
Poulin was called up from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on Jan. 4 after Rick DiPietro suffered an adductor injury. Poulin made his debut Thursday night when he was summoned to spell Nathan Lawson and stopped 19 shots in 54 minutes.
That performance helped earn him the start against Colorado, especially with the team playing Sunday in Chicago to conclude an 11-day, five-game road swing.
Notes: The Avs are starting to get back to health as F Chris Stewart (broken left hand) began skating again and D Kyle Cumiskey (concussion) was cleared to practice with the team. … Avs F Cody McLeod sat out for the ninth time in 10 games because of a groin injury. … Islanders C Frans Nielsen (groin) missed a second straight game.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)