November 10, 2014

Matt Duchene has had a hand in nearly half of Colorado's goals in November while scoring more than any Avalanche player has during that month since the franchise relocated from Quebec in 1995.

The problem is that the Avalanche have lost just as much as they did when Duchene was having trouble producing in October.

Colorado looks to win for just the third time in seven tries as it begins a four-game road trip Monday night against the New York Islanders.

Duchene has 11 goals and nine assists for the second-most points in the NHL since Nov. 1 after finishing with a goal and two assists in Saturday's 5-3 victory over Winnipeg.

Colorado (9-13-1), which has 44 goals during the month, had lost four of its previous five.

''I think the biggest thing is it was just nice to get back on the sheet and help the team with the offense," said Duchene, who had a seven-game point streak end in Wednesday's loss to Ottawa. "That's the biggest thing and it was a big win for us.

''I'm playing with two amazing hockey players in (Gabriel Landeskog) and Nate (MacKinnon). They make it easier for me.''

The Avalanche have gone 6-7-0 during Duchene's hot stretch, though, after a 3-6-1 start during which Duchene had just one goal and one assist. Their 70 goals against on the season are the fifth-most in the league, and Semyon Varlamov has a .890 save percentage while giving up at least three in 10 of his 13 starts.

Duchene has a minus-1 rating despite being on the ice for 22 Colorado goals.

"I just feel that it always has to be the hard way for us," said coach Patrick Roy, who picked up his 100th career victory Saturday. "But you know what? I like what I'm seeing. I like the resilience of our guys, the compete level. This is a good hockey club."

Duchene had two goals and two assists in his previous two against the Islanders before New York peppered Varlamov with 46 shots in a 6-0 victory Nov. 11, 2014.

Varlamov stopped 87 of 90 shots while going 2-0-1 in his previous starts against the Islanders (12-8-4), who are looking to earn at least a point in four straight.

John Tavares scored with 3:36 left in the third period Saturday to give New York a 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay, which scored the game's first two goals. The Islanders rallied from a two-goal deficit the previous night but lost to Florida 3-2 in a shootout.

''A lot of things haven't been bouncing our way, but we've been really working for everything we've been getting,'' Tavares said. ''We're getting timely goals and certainly we seem to be getting better as the game goes on.''

Tavares and Josh Bailey scored on the power play, an encouraging sign after the Islanders went 2 for 36 with the man advantage over their previous 12.

''I had faith in our power play,'' coach Jack Capuano said. ''We had a couple of good ones in the last nine periods of hockey we played, but we didn't have the results that we had (Saturday). Fortunately, we got the bounces that we needed.''

Thomas Greiss made 29 saves and stopped a penalty shot against the Lightning as Jaroslav Halak got the night off. Halak, who has a 2.02 goals-against average in 13 starts, is 4-0-2 with a 1.30 GAA against the Avalanche since 2011.

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