DENVER (AP) — On one sequence, the Islanders’ Joshua Ho-Sang got whistled for two different hooking penalties. That was four minutes of power-play time.
Colorado couldn’t score. New York was let off the hook.
Instant momentum changer.
Goaltender Thomas Greiss bottled up Colorado’s fast-flying offense, Johnny Boychuk scored his first goal of the season and the Islanders beat the Avalanche 4-1 on Monday night.
“It was definitely a swing that could’ve gone either way,” Anders Lee said of the second-period hooking calls that came with New York holding a 2-1 lead. “Everyone on those units did a great job getting the puck down the ice and keeping them at bay. Four minutes against this power play is a tough thing to ask for. Our boys did it.”
Jordan Eberle and 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. Really, though, the Avalanche’s top line of Landeskog, Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon were pretty much held in check all evening. They combined for 12 shots.
“Everybody knows they’re the engine of the whole team,” Greiss said. “If you can shut them down it’s a big part of their game. It was huge to play really well against them.”
It’s not every night a player gets whistled for double hooking penalties before the whistle is blown. But Ho-Sang hooked Sven Andrighetto and Gabriel Bourque.
“If they score there, that could’ve been a game changer,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “We actually got some momentum off of that.”
Semyon Varlamov struggled yet again, allowing three goals on 20 shots. He’s surrendered 21 over his last five appearances.
“He was OK. Our whole team, I thought we were just OK,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “I thought they were the hungrier team tonight. They did a really nice job defending.”
There was a scary moment late in the second when Islanders defenseman 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, center Brock Nelson gingerly skated off after being hit in the left leg on a knee check from Ian Cole that drew a penalty. Nelson didn’t return, either.
After the game, Trotz had no updates on their injuries.
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 defensemen in franchise history.
“It would have been a lot sweeter if it was a different outcome tonight,” Barrie said. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us yet.”
Eberle staked the Islanders a 1-0 lead with 1:40 remaining in the first period. That was Eberle’s seventh goal of the season and first since Nov. 23.
“We just played a smart game,” Lee said. “From Greiss on out, we played really well.”
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. … Rantanen wasn’t lamenting the end of his streak. “Our goal has to be to win the last three games and get a little streak going before going to Christmas break,” he said.
Islanders: Game No. 2 of their trip is Tuesday in Arizona.
Avalanche: Host Montreal on Wednesday.
By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
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