New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin, of Russia, redirects a puck to Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, of Russia, in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski
December 17, 2015

DENVER (AP) Defenseman Francois Beauchemin readily acknowledges he got a lucky bounce. Not that he's apologizing for it.

Just the way the night went for him. Just the way things have been going lately for the Colorado Avalanche as well.

Beauchemin scored twice, including the tiebreaking goal late in the third period on a freak carom, Semyon Varlamov stopped 33 shots and the Avalanche beat the New York Islanders 2-1 on Thursday for their fourth straight win.

After digging out a rebound in the corner, Beauchemin sent the puck toward the front of the net. It bounced off the skate of Islanders center Mikhail Grabovski and ricocheted past goaltender Thomas Greiss with 3:48 remaining.

''Sometimes, you get that bounce,'' said Beauchemin, who also scored in the opening period for his fifth career multi-goal game. ''At the end of the year I won't remember how it went in. All I will know is that it will count.''

A definite stunner for the Islanders, who outshot the Avalanche 34-30.

''Just bad puck luck,'' New York forward Anders Lee said. ''Stuff like that happens sometimes.''

After winning three straight on the road, the Avalanche kept it up at home - a place where they've struggled - improving to 5-7-1 at Pepsi Center this season.

Varlamov kept up his torrid play, too, earning the victory for a fifth straight start. He's allowed five goals during the streak.

About time the Avalanche caught a break like that, Varlamov said.

''I'll take that. I'll take the lucky bounce because I felt like we were unlucky at the beginning of the season,'' Varlamov said. ''We need those lucky goals sometimes.''

Brock Nelson scored a power-play goal for the Islanders, who beat Colorado 5-3 in New York on Nov. 30.

The Islanders pulled Greiss with 1:41 remaining for an extra skater, but couldn't get anything past Varlamov. The Islanders dropped to 10-3-1 against the Western Conference this season.

''You're going to go through times where you play really good hockey and don't win. It's not going to go your way,'' Nelson said. ''You have to fight through that. Eventually, you'll come out on the other side.''

Nelson tied the game with a power-play goal at 4:55 of the second period as he sent a wrist shot past a screened Varlamov.

A few minutes later, the Islanders caught a break when a puck that was headed into the net hit off the skate of defenseman Calvin de Haan, who was stationed right next to the left post.

Beauchemin scored early in the first on a shot from near the blue line that sailed over the right shoulder of Greiss.

The defenseman was back on the ice two days after taking a big hit in a win at Chicago. Beauchemin insisted after the morning skate that he was feeling fine.

Varlamov was stellar in the opening period as he stopped 14 shots, including one down low from Ryan Strome. Varlamov is returning to the form that made him tough to beat two years ago.

''We struggled a little bit but Varly was there,'' Beauchemin said. ''Let's not kid ourselves. That was a really good team out there. They're one of the top teams in the East, in the league.

''In the third we came out really, I thought, had some good looks and got a good bounce.''

NOTES: The Islanders killed off two penalties Thursday and are now 26 for 26 over their last 11 games. ... Grabovski has an assist in three straight games. ... Beauchemin's last multi-goal game was March 18, 2013, against San Jose while with Anaheim. ... Colorado is 7-2 in December.

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