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Avalanche Vs. Islanders: Struggling Colorado Faces Off Against Suddenly Decent New York

(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche will try to avoid a fourth straight loss to the New York Islanders when they welcome the Isles for this afternoon's interconference battle at the Pepsi Center.

The Islanders won their third meeting in a row in this series earlier this season when they slammed Colorado, 5-2, at Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 16. Milan Jurcina had a pair of goals in that game and Dwayne Roloson, who has since been traded to Tampa Bay, stopped 28 shots to record the win.

New York is 6-0-1 with a tie in the last eight meetings against the Avs overall, but Colorado is 3-1-0 with a tie in the last five encounters in Denver.

The Avalanche have lost three of their last four games and Joe Sacco's club is just 2-5-1 since a season-best six-game winning streak from Dec. 10-19.

Colorado's most recent defeat came Thursday night against the visiting Coyotes, who received a pair of goals from Taylor Pyatt and 34 saves from Jason LaBarbera in the 2-0 victory at the Pepsi Center.

Craig Anderson was strong with 31 saves in the losing effort, but Colorado was shut out for just the second time this season.

"We played a good game and we had close chances, but we just couldn't bury one," said Anderson.

The Avs have played the last five games without forward Cody McLeod, who has been sidelined with a groin injury. He is still considered day-to-day and is questionable for this afternoon's tilt.

Colorado, which will complete a five-game homestand Monday against Detroit, is 11-8-2 as the host this year, but has lost five of its last six in the Mile High City.

The Islanders were on a three-game winning streak before dropping a close regulation decision Thursday in Edmonton. The Oilers snapped a seven-game losing streak with the 2-1 victory at Rexall Place.

Blake Comeau netted the lone tally for the Islanders, who are 2-1-0 on a five- game road trip that is set to end tomorrow at Chicago.

Nathan Lawson was pulled after giving up both Oiler goals on just three shots in just over five minutes of action. Kevin Poulin spelled him for the remainder of the contest and registered 19 saves.

"You always want to be in there but if that's what it takes to spark the team, I'm a team guy," Lawson admitted. "I just try to stay on an even keel."

Lawson was making just his second career start and Poulin saw his first NHL action in the relief stint. With Rick DiPietro out with an injured groin, one of the two youngsters will get today's start. Poulin figures to have the inside track based solely on his superior performance in Thursday's game.