Avalanche edge Islanders in overtime thriller

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the New York Islanders 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday night, thanks to a stunning goal by Nathan MacKinnon. The Avalanche overcame a two-goal deficit in the third period to force the extra session, where MacKinnon scored his 20th goal of the season with 17 seconds left.

MacKinnon delivers the winner

The game-winning goal was a highlight-reel play by MacKinnon, who skated past two Islanders defenders and lifted a backhand shot over the glove of goaltender Semyon Varlamov. MacKinnon said he was inspired by his teammate Mikko Rantanen, who scored a similar goal earlier in the game.

“I saw Mikko do it and I thought I’d try it too,” MacKinnon said. “It worked out. It was a lucky bounce, but I’ll take it.”

MacKinnon’s goal capped a four-point night for the star center, who also had three assists. He extended his point streak to 10 games, during which he has 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists).

Avalanche rally in the third period

The Avalanche trailed 4-2 entering the third period, after the Islanders scored three goals in the second period. Brock Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier, and Mathew Barzal all found the back of the net for the Islanders, who seemed to have the game under control.

Avalanche edge Islanders

However, the Avalanche did not give up and scored two goals in the span of 1:39 to tie the game. Rantanen scored his 18th goal of the season at 9:13, beating Varlamov with a backhand shot from a tight angle. Then, Andre Burakovsky scored his 12th goal of the season at 10:52, deflecting a shot by Samuel Girard past Varlamov.

The Avalanche outshot the Islanders 17-9 in the third period and 40-28 in the game. They improved their record to 23-9-3, while the Islanders fell to 18-10-7.

Islanders lose two key players to injury

The Islanders suffered two major losses in the game, as they lost two of their top players to injury. Captain Anders Lee left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury, after colliding with Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson. Lee did not return and his status is unknown.

Then, in the second period, defenseman Ryan Pulock suffered an upper-body injury, after blocking a shot by Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri. Pulock also did not return and his status is unknown.

Islanders coach Barry Trotz said he did not have any updates on the injured players, but he praised their efforts.

“They’re warriors, they’re leaders, they’re big parts of our team,” Trotz said. “They sacrificed their bodies for the team and we appreciate that. Hopefully, they’re not too serious and they can get back soon.”

Avalanche continue to dominate at home

The Avalanche extended their home winning streak to nine games, the longest in the NHL this season. They have outscored their opponents 44-18 during the streak, and have scored at least five goals in seven of the nine games.

The Avalanche also improved their power-play efficiency, scoring two goals on four opportunities. They have scored 11 power-play goals in their last eight games, going 11 for 25 (44 percent).

The Avalanche will look to extend their home winning streak on Friday, when they host the Minnesota Wild. The Islanders will try to bounce back on Saturday, when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks.

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