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Islanders open homestand with win against Avalanche

by David Satriano / NHL.com

NEW YORK -- Cal Clutterbuck scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period to help the New York Islanders to a 5-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Barclays Center on Monday.

Clutterbuck tipped defenseman Thomas Hickey's shot from the right point past Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov at 1:52 for his sixth of the season.

The Islanders (13-8-4) took a 2-1 lead in the second period on a goal by Mikael Grabovski before giving up the tying goal 41 seconds later on a shot by Jarome Iginla.

Casey Cizikas and his linemates -- Clutterbuck and Matt Martin -- were on the ice for Iginla's goal.

"I know all three of us were upset after we gave up that goal right after we scored, but we stayed with it and continued to do what we have to do to be successful and it worked out for us," Cizikas said.

New York, which opened a three-game homestand and will play the New York Rangers on Wednesday, is 3-0-1 in its past four games and 9-2-1 against Western Conference opponents.

"I don't think there's any rhyme or reason for [the success] but they are a good team, and we knew that going in," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "They had some chances."

The Islanders scored three times in the third period.

"We broke through," Clutterbuck said. "It was a game where two bad bounces could have ended up letting one get away from us, but I thought we did a good job of not letting that happen."

Varlamov allowed four goals, marking the fourth time in five games he has allowed at least three.

"It's not easy for him. Obviously we need that extra save and we didn't get it," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "It's hard to win if you're giving up four goals on the road. ... He's our number one guy."

Former Islanders forward Blake Comeau gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 10:20 of the first period. He skated around the net and attempted a wraparound that went off Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss' glove and over the goal line. It was Comeau's fourth goal of the season.

The Islanders tied the game 1-1 with 1.4 seconds remaining in the first period on a power-play goal by Kyle Okposo. New York had a 5-on-3 and Okposo took a pass from Frans Nielsen and put a wrist shot from between the circles past Varlamov.

Grabovski made it 2-1 Islanders 6:31 into the second period on a nice passing play with Nikolay Kulemin and Ryan Strome. His backhander from in close went past Varlamov.

Iginla scored 41 seconds later after the Islanders failed to clear the puck to tie the game 2-2 with a wrist shot from inside the blue line. Iginla's eighth goal of the season was his first in nine games and was his 597th career goal; he needs three more to become the 19th NHL player to score 600 goals.

Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene have been carrying the Avalanche, but the line did not have a point and was a combined minus-8.

"[The other lines] did a great job tonight," Duchene said. "We needed to do our job tonight and we worked hard and had some good chances especially in the first period but just weren't able to find a goal when we needed it."

The Avalanche (9-14-1) are in a stretch of 11 of 13 games on the road. They fell to 4-10-1 against Eastern Conference opponents. Following a 5-3 victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, Colorado failed to win back-to-back games for the second time this season.

"We had a really good start. I thought we had a solid first period, but they took over in the second and the third," Roy said.

Cizikas made it 4-2 Islanders at 8:16 with a goal from the left point off a failed clearing attempt off the boards. It was his fourth goal of the season.

Capuano was pleased with his fourth line.

"They just work, they do the right things," he said. "When you work hard, you get rewarded in life and the way that they are playing right now, they deserve to get rewarded."

Colorado got within 4-3 with Varlamov pulled for an extra attacker on a goal from Nick Holden with 3:34 left, but Strome scored an empty-net goal with 47 seconds remaining to make it 5-3.

Strome has four points in three games since being recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League last Thursday.

Varlamov made 23 saves; Greiss made 25 saves in his second straight start.

Duchene didn't score, but finished the month with 11 goals in 14 games, setting a franchise record for goals in November. Claude Lemieux had 10 goals in Nov. 1995.

Islanders forward Josh Bailey played in his 500th game. He was selected by New York in the first round (No. 9) of the 2008 NHL Draft.

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