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Avs' Parenteau Happy for Time on the Island

by Scott Ward / Colorado Avalanche

PA Parenteau is in his second season now with the Avalanche after his career took him to the Rocky Mountains prior to last season.

But he’s only in this position because of his time spent with the New York Islanders.

PA Parenteau
Right Wing  - COL - two seasons
Goals: 28 | Assists: 42 | Pts: 70
Game-winners: 2 | Penalty minutes: 62
Parenteau scored 38 goals and had 82 assists in 161 games with the Isles, from 2010 to 2012, after he signed with them as a free agent in summer 2010. He was a key cog for New York and finished second on the club in scoring with 53 points in 2010-11 and was third in 2011-12 with 67 points.

He played five games with the Blackhawks in 2007 and spent about a quarter of the 2009-10 season with the New York Rangers, but he didn't really get a chance until he donned the Isles' encircled "NY" crest.

He had eight points (three goals, five assists) and a plus-four rating in 22 games with the Rangers, but most of that year was spent in the American Hockey League and with the Hartford Wolf Pack. He did score his first NHL goal in his New York debut in October 2009 and had a two-assist game about a month later, but he spent 35 games with Hartford and was without a contract following the season.

So, as he looked for a spot in summer 2010 to continue chasing his dream his gaze turned east on Interstate 495, where Nassau Coliseum was calling. It was offering him a full-time, legit chance.
“It was two great years,” Parenteau said Saturday morning on Long Island, before Colorado faced the Islanders (5 p.m. MT). “I got to play with really good players. It was an awesome time, but it’s behind me now, so I’m focusing on Colorado.”

Parenteau skated alongside some talented young forwards in his time with the Islanders, including Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner and, of course, John Tavares, who was selected just two spots ahead of Colorado’s dynamic Matt Duchene in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

In Parenteau, the Islanders had for two seasons a young and hungry wing who was considered a veteran on a squad full of up-and-coming talent. He’s in a similar position now with the Avs, although his team is in much better shape than the Isles where when Parenteau wore the orange and blue.

Colorado enters tonight’s game with 77 points (36-16-5) and with sights set on a Stanley Cup playoffs push following this month’s NHL Olympic break.

The Islanders are 22-29-8 and in a bit of no-man’s land in the Eastern Conference standings. Colorado was in much the same boat last year, in Parenteau’s first season with the club, but his play and veteran leadership on the wing has paired well this season with a core group of Avalanche centers, and it’s all resulted in the Avalanche being one of the NHL’s great surprises in 2013-14.

Parenteau has always been called upon to contribute as much as possible and provide the glue on a team with so many up-and-coming weapons. His career has been full of that.

“We’ve got Duchene, [Paul] Stastny, [Nathan] MacKinnon—we’ve even got [Ryan] O’Reilly who can play center. Every time you play wing on a team like that you’re always going to have a great center man, so it’s fun.”

He was asked to compare the play of Tavares—he still considers him a friend—and Duchene, who both will skate for Team Canada in the next couple weeks in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“Playing with Duchene has been great—last year we had a great connection,” Parenteau said. “This year we haven’t played much together, but we’ve been playing together the last couple games. Hopefully we can have a good game tonight vs. the Islanders.”


- Tonight ends a four-game road trip for the Avs, who have gone 1-2-0 so far in games against New Jersey, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia. Despite dropping its past two games, Colorado is still 9-4-0 in its past 13 games, 10-4-1 in its past 15 and 13-5-1 in its past 19.

Nate Guenin 
The Avs are 6-3-0 on the road since New Year’s and are 17-9-2 away from home this year (.643).

“We could have a decent road trip by winning this game,” defenseman Nate Guenin said. “We want to head into the [Olympic] break feeling good about ourselves. We feel like we’ve played some really good hockey up to this point, and we definitely want to go in on a high note.

The Avalanche ended a two-game homestand on Saturday with an offensive outburst, scoring seven goals in a 7-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres. Colorado ranks sixth in the NHL with 2.91 goals per game, but it’s potted just four goals in three games since Saturday.

Scoring lulls are inevitable during the NHL season, but the Avalanche would love nothing more than to get back to its offensive ways tonight on Long Island.

“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” said defenseman Tyson Barrie, who has a career-high seven goals and a career-high 19 points this season. “Obviously, we’d like to be scoring more goals right now, but it’s only been three games—I think we were going pretty good before that.

“Through the course of the season you’re going to through a couple-game drought or whatever it is. … Hopefully we can break out of this tonight.”

- The Avalanche and Islanders will play tonight for the second and final time this season. New York won the first meeting 2-1 in overtime Jan. 10 at Pepsi Center.

- The Avs tonight are making their first visit to Long Island since Oct. 16, 2010 (5-2 Islanders victory).

- Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog has an eight-game point streak (three goals, seven assists), tying his career-long streak set earlier this season, from Dec. 23 to Jan. 8.  

Landeskog is the first Avalanche player to have two point streaks of at least eight games in the same season since Andrew Brunette had point streaks of 11 and eight games during the 2006-07 season.

Landeskog has been held scoreless just four times in his past 22 games, scoring 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in his past 22 games.

- Rookie Nathan MacKinnon is riding a career-high seven-game point streak (four goals, six assists), which is the second-longest streak by an NHL rookie this season (Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat, eight games.

MacKinnon has scored 11 goals since Jan. 1, which is tied with the Rangers’ Rick Nash for the second most in the NHL, behind San Jose’s Joe Pavelski, who has 13.
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