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Penalties Stall Avs Comeback Against Islanders

Colorado was shorthanded five times versus New York

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

NEW YORK--Having penalty trouble while trying to get ahead or produce a comeback doesn't usually lead to success.

The New York Islanders scored two power-play goals on five opportunities and the Colorado Avalanche couldn't counterpunch in a 5-1 loss on Sunday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Avs finished 0-for-3 on their own man-advantage chances.

Colorado had penalties at inopportune times and New York took advantage to blow open a contest that was fairly close through 40 minutes. In total, the Avalanche took eight penalties, though two were matching minors with the Islanders.

"It's just too many, and that's where they gain their traction and their momentum, on those power play--especially the 5-on-3," Avs head coach Jared Bednar said.

Dylan Strome scored what was the game-winning goal with that two-man advantage, giving New York a 2-1 lead with 5:14 left in the second period. The Islanders' second power-play marker made it a 4-1 contest as Anders Lee tallied his second of the night at 11:22 of the third period.

In total, New York scored three goals in the final stanza to break open the contest. The third period has been a struggle for Colorado all season, and it has cost the club in back-to-back outings in New York. The Avs also gave up three goals in the third on Saturday versus the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"It's been a bit of the story. Third periods, we've gone in with a lead a lot of times and ended up throwing it away," said defenseman Tyson Barrie. "Their power play was good, and then we just didn't have any push back in the third."

The Avalanche didn't have the lead entering the final frame in this one, but the club was in a manageable, one-goal deficit leaving the locker room after the second intermission.

Lee made Colorado's comeback harder to start after recording his first marker of the night just 1:21 into the third period.

"We come out there and give up one first shift, and that's just happened way too often this year," Joe Colborne said. "Put ourselves behind the eight ball, and it's frustrating."

Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar on loss to Islanders

Bednar has often spoke this season about how taking a lot of penalties often leads to an inflated number of goals against while shorthanded. The opposing club gets more opportunities to break down the Avs' penalty kill while not allowing them to get any flow offensively.

That was once again the case during the second stop of Colorado's season-long five game road trip.

"We thought for some time now we've done a better job of staying out of the box, and because we did that, that our penalty kill started to gain some traction," Bednar said. "But again tonight, [five] opportunities is just way too many, especially when you're playing a team that's playing real well lately. When they're on their home ice, you can't give them that many opportunities."

The Avalanche did and it ended up costing the club a very winnable game.


Joe Colborne got the monkey off his back on Sunday.

Colborne scored his first goal since his hat-trick performance on opening night on Oct. 15 against the Dallas Stars, ending a 42-game scoreless drought.

The center made a nice move to notch his fourth tally of the season, taking an Andreas Martinsen pass from the wall, coming in alone on Jean-Francois Berube and faking out the goaltender with a deke.

"Marty made a great play, but it's frustrating," Colborne said. "Personally, it felt good, but to get it in a loss like we just had is frustrating."

Colborne has been on a line with Carl Soderberg and John Mitchell for the past few games, and that combo seems to be starting to click.

"Well it's good to see him [score]," Bednar said. "I think too, the last few games that Soderberg line's been working hard. Now there's some things that I really liked about that line tonight; Colborne getting on the board early, which is nice to see."

Video: Postgame interview with Joe Colborne


Defenseman Tyson Barrie returned to the Avalanche's lineup after missing the past four games and eight of the last 10 due to a lower-body injury.

The Avs eased Barrie back into action after missing most of the last four weeks as he only played 17:27, a lower amount than what he has been accustomed to this season. Entering the game, he was first on the club in average ice time, playing 23:42 per game.

"I felt alright. It's just getting back into a little bit," Barrie said. "I didn't play a ton. Just trying to make sure the hip feels good and everything's back on track."

The defenseman's last contests came on Colorado's two-game California road trip Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in Anaheim and Los Angeles.

"That really sucked. You think it's good and you get back in, and we played back-to-back games in California there, and just overworked it a little bit," Barrie said. "Kind of put me right back to where it was. So we're trying to be smart with it this time and make sure it's 100 percent."

Barrie finished with two shots on goal and seven attempts in total, a number Bednar is encouraged by.

"He was pretty good," Bednar said. "He had a couple shifts where he had a lot of shot attempts, which I like to see. I want to see him shooting the puck. He wasn't doing that too often when he was in our lineup prior to the injury. We were trying to encourage him to shoot more. He had a bunch of shifts early where he shot the puck and a bunch of shifts late. I thought it was a good first one back for him, no glaring mistakes, no costly mistakes and he was up ice and involved in our offense where we need him to be."

Video: Tyson Barrie returns to the Avs lineup

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