Makar, MacKinnon help Avalanche hold off Islanders 5-4
NEW YORK (AP) — Cale Makar had two goals and an assist, Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists, and the Colorado Avalanche held off the New York Islanders 5-4 Monday night to snap a two-game skid.
J.T. Compher and Devon Toews also scored for the Avalanche, who led 5-1 midway through the third and ran out the clock on New York’s rally. Colorado ended its longest losing streak since also dropping consecutive games Nov. 3 and 6. Nazem Kadri and Gabriel Landeskog each had two assists and Pavel Francouz made 32 saves.
“A little bit too exciting,” MacKinnon said. “I don’t know what happened, we’ll have to look at the film. Just felt like everything they touched went in in the last 10 (minutes).”
Anders Lee had two power-play goals and an assist, Casey Cizikas and Brock Nelson also scored, and Noah Dobson had two assists for the Islanders. Semyon Varlamov had a season-high 44 saves but lost his sixth straight.
“I thought Varly was the best player on the ice for both teams,” New York coach Barry Trotz said. “The positives for us, when we fell behind we didn’t give up.”
New York has not won consecutive games since Jan. 18 and 21 — falling to 7-11-2 since.
After scoring three times in the third to rally for a 5-3 win at home against the Islanders last Tuesday, the Avalanche tallied four times in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the third of this one after going into the period tied 1-1.
MacKinnon scored from the right circle for his 18th at 4:06 to give the Avalanche their first lead of the night. He now has nine goals and five assists in an 11-game points streak. Makar had an assist on the play, tying Joe Sakic for the franchise record with a helper in 12 straight games.
Compher made it 3-1 with a quick shot from the left circle while he was falling down off a pass from Alex Newhook at 6:34. Makar got his second of the night and 20th of the season 1:07 later, and Toews made it 5-1 at 8:27.
“Cale is always a stud,” MacKinnon said. “He’s been setting up a lot of guys. It was nice to see him score a few tonight.”
Lee backhanded a rebound for his second of the night 16th of the season and 200th of his career with 8:02 remaining to pull the Islanders back within three.
Cizikas tapped in a loose puck after Kyle Palmieri’s shot went off the crossbar for his seventh 90 seconds later, and Nelson scored from the left point for his team-leading 21st to pull the Islanders within one with 26.2 seconds to go.
“It’s not good enough,” Cizikas said of the Islanders’ comeback. “Varly gave us every chance to win that game tonight. He played unbelievable, he made some incredible saves and we let him down. We let him down big time.”
Lee returned to the Islanders’ lineup after missing Saturday’s win against St. Louis for personal reasons. C Mathew Barzal (lower body) and D Zdeno Chara (IR, upper body) each missed his fifth straight game.
Makar leads all NHL defensemen in goals and points (63). His first-period goal extended his points streak to 12 games, second in franchise history for a defenseman behind Steve Duchesne’s 15 in 1992-93 season.
The Islanders welcomed back former teammate Toews with a video tribute during a stoppage in play in the first period. The defenseman received a nice ovation from the UBS Arena crowd and stood up on the bench and raised his arm in acknowledgement.
“I appreciate it,” Toews said. “It’s never expected. You love it nonetheless.”
Toews, selected by the Islanders in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL draft, had 11 goals and 35 assists in two seasons with New York before he was dealt to Colorado on Oct. 12, 2020.
Avalanche: At New Jersey on Tuesday night in the second of a three-game
Islanders: Host Columbus on Thursday night in the fourth of a six-game homestand.
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