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Avalanche finish homestand vs. resurgent Islanders

by Jon Lane

ISLANDERS (16-22-7) at AVALANCHE (27-12-4)


Last 10: New York 7-3-0; Colorado 5-2-3

Season series: This is the first of two games between the New York Islanders and Colorado Avalanche. Kyle Quincey's power-play goal 2:39 into overtime helped Colorado rally from a three-goal deficit and defeat New York 4-3 when they last met on Nov. 10, 2011, at Pepsi Center.

Big story: Although the Islanders sit in eighth place in the Metropolitan Division, they cannot be counted out of the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A team that lost 10 straight road games earlier this season has won five straight away from home and six of eight overall.

"You start to win a few of these and obviously the confidence comes back,'' Islanders captain John Tavares said. "With our group, it's a lot of the same guys who were here last year and we were a team that did a good job late in games. That's what got us to the playoffs [last season], finding ways to win.''

The Avalanche conclude a seven-game homestand. Their record is 4-1-1 following a win Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators. Semyon Varlamov will start in goal against the Islanders and the next night at the Minnesota Wild.

"I asked him how he felt about it and he said, 'Why not?'" coach Patrick Roy said Thursday.

Team Scope:

Islanders: New York's road resurgence continued Tuesday with a 5-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs behind third-period goals from Frans Nielsen, Calvin de Haan and Cal Clutterbuck.

''Early on, I don't know if it was nerves or a lack of poise or confidence,'' coach Jack Capuano said about the Islanders' recent success. ''But now we're just playing with an attitude, playing with an edge, playing with confidence and doing the right things to give us a chance.''

Avalanche: After blowing an early 2-0 lead to the Senators, Colorado rallied behind Paul Stastny's tying goal and Tyson Barrie's game-winner 33 seconds into overtime. Captain Gabriel Landeskog had a career-high three assists in the win.

"I obviously think Paul and Landy are clicking well together and they played really well in that important moment in the game," Roy said Thursday. "They had a good start to the game and finished really strong and took charge."

Who's hot: Tavares has eight points in his past two games and is on a seven-game point streak for the Islanders. Linemate Thomas Vanek is on a career-high 10-game point streak (5-10-15) and has 11 goals and 28 points in 29 games since joining the Islanders … Landeskog is riding an eight-game point streak (3-8-11) for Colorado. Varlamov has won his past four games and is 20-8-4 on the season. Stastny has eight points in his past three games.

Injury report: Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov (lower body) is on injured reserve, as are defensemen Radek Martinek (back) and Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion). … Avalanche forward Alex Tanguay (knee/hip) continues to make progress. He skated wearing a non-contact jersey Thursday. Forwards Ryan O'Reilly (bruised shoulder) and Nate Guenin (ankle) missed the game Wednesday. O'Reilly is day-to-day and Roy suggested it's unlikely he'll play Friday. Forward PA Parenteau (sprained MCL) remains on IR.

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNHL

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