Avalanche 3, Islanders 2
DENVER (AP) _ Losing a road game to the Stanley Cup champions would please almost any coach. New York Islanders coach Mike Milbury, however, isn’t one of them.
``Anybody that is satisfied with the game in our locker room shouldn’t be,″ Milbury said. ``It sucked! Any mention of satisfaction in our room would be enough to make me angry.″
Valeri Kamensky scored twice to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 win over the Islanders on Friday night. NHL scoring co-leaders Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic each added an assist for Colorado.
``We lost coverage on a couple of goals and we lost one-on-one battles and it cost us the game,″ Milbury said. ``To be satisfied with a 3-2 loss is idiocy.″
Kamensky scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season for the Avalanche, who improved to 11-1-3 in their last 15 games. The assists by Forsberg and Sakic gave them an NHL-leading 35 points apiece.
``We didn’t have anyone who played poorly, but we’ve come to expect a little bit more from our guys,″ Colorado coach Marc Crawford said. ``I can’t be overly upset with the fact that we’ve won as many games as we have. We are winning sometimes on instinct and tonight was maybe a game we won on instinct.″
Patrick Roy, 16-7-1 in his career against the Islanders, stopped 21 of 23 shots to extend his unbeaten streak to 12 games (10-0-2).
Islanders goaltender Tommy Salo, who played one season with the Denver Grizzlies of the International Hockey League in 1994-95, had 24 saves.
New York failed to score on all four power-play opportunities. The Islanders lost for the fifth time in their last 11 games (3-5-3).
``We are struggling and there isn’t a lot we can do about it,″ said New York’s Bryan Smolinski. ``We’ve had a lot of chances and little to show for them.″
The teams exchanged goals in the first period with Brent Hughes scoring first at 4:58 for the Islanders. Roy stopped Dan Plante’s wraparound attempt, but the puck slid through the crease to Hughes, who tapped in his second goal of the season.
Colorado tied the game with a power-play goal by Kamensky at 12:58 after Salo had stopped two shots by Forsberg. Two minutes earlier, Kamensky had a goal waved off by referee Stephen Walkom.
Former Avalanche Claude Lapointe gave New York a 2-1 lead at 4:32 of the second period. Lapointe stole the puck at the Islanders’ blue line, broke in alone on Roy and beat the goaltender between his legs.
Colorado scored the final two goals of the second period to take a 3-2 lead. Stephane Yelle first converted a pass from behind the net from Brent Severyn. Kamensky then sent a blast over Salo’s left shoulder from the left circle at 10:36 for his second goal of the game and ninth this season.
``I haven’t scored a lot this year,″ Yelle said. ``The puck got loose in front and I just stuffed it in.″
The Islanders had several scoring chances in the final five minutes. Smolinski hit the crossbar with two minutes to go and New York had a three-shot flurry in the last 20 seconds after Salo was pulled for a sixth skater.
``We didn’t play a particularly strong game and you are going to get a game like that every now and then,″ Crawford said. ``We play 82 games and in 82 games you are not going to be letter perfect.″