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DENVER – Nathan MacKinnon scored his first two goals of the season and Semyon Varlamov stopped 40 shots for his 14th NHL shutout, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-0 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
MacKinnon, the 19-year-old reigning rookie of the year, has struggled to get on track this season. He scored both of his goals in the second period, one on a power play — hopping up and down on his skates to celebrate — and the other when he tipped a shot past goalie Chad Johnson.
Cody McLeod and Marc-Andre Cliche also netted their first goals of the season. Erik Johnson added another in the third period.
Varlamov was sharp against the Islanders, one of the NHL's highest scoring teams. It was his first shutout since April 5 at St. Louis.
The Avalanche took command with a three-goal second period, turning this game into a rout. That is a departure for these teams in Denver, where the last seven meetings had been decided by one goal.
Tempers flared late, with New York's Cal Clutterbuck and McLeod shoving each other near the Avalanche bench. Both were sent to the penalty box for roughing. Seconds later, Johnson scored on a power play to make it 5-0. The defenseman also added an assist.
The Islanders struggled on the power play, going 0-for-6.
At the morning skate, MacKinnon said his scoring slump wasn't weighing on him and that he wouldn't change anything about his play.
"I'll get a bounce one of these nights," MacKinnon said.
He did. There was a collision in front of the Islanders net with three players falling on top of Gabriel Landeskog near the crease. Johnson tried to stand tall, but fell. MacKinnon skated backward with the puck to create some separation and then lined a shot into the upper corner.
His eyes grew wide when the puck went in and he raised his arms. He then hopped around as his teammates engulfed him.
Later, Jarome Iginla corralled a puck on the side and sent a pass near the net, which MacKinnon tipped to the right of Johnson's stick.
MacKinnon had 24 goals and 39 assists last season in helping the Avalanche return to the playoffs. His slow start mirrored that of last season, though, when he had one goal through the opening 11 games.
Varlamov showed no signs of fatigue after making 49 saves in a shootout loss to San Jose two nights earlier. That tied the franchise record for most saves in a home game.
McLeod scored 2:34 into the game on a feed from Matt Duchene, who was left alone behind the net.
The Avalanche were called for two delay of game penalties in the opening period, one when Landeskog tried to clear a puck near the net. The other was at the end of the period as John Mitchell flipped a puck out of play.
Islanders captain John Tavares almost tied the game, but his shot just before the buzzer clanged off the crossbar.
NOTES: New York D Travis Hamonic missed his fourth straight game because of an upper-body injury. ... Islanders RW Kyle Okposo played in his 400th career game. ... The Islanders' next stop on their five-game trip is Saturday at San Jose. ... Colorado RW Dennis Everberg was recalled from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League on Thursday. ... F Maxime Talbot and Duchene each had two assists.