Joensuu scores in NHL debut as Islanders top Avalanche

UNIONDALE, New York (Ticker) — Making his NHL debut, Jesse
Joensuu helped continue the Colorado Avalanche’s woes.

Joensuu scored in his first career game Monday as the New York
Islanders handed the Colorado Avalanche their fifth consecutive
loss with a 4-2 victory.

“I had a roommate, Ville Leino of the Red Wings, who scored a
goal in his first NHL game,” Joensuu said. “I thought, ‘That
would be unbelievable,’ but I didn’t think that would happen to

Jeff Tambellini recorded a goal and an assist and Jon Sim
notched a career-high three assists for the Islanders, who have
won back-to-back contests.

Defenseman Bruno Gervais netted his first goal in nearly three
years, Yann Danis made 19 saves and Dean McAmmond also tallied
for New York.

“We’ve been playing pretty well for a while,” Danis said.
“We’ve played some good hockey. We were facing some adversity,
missing a few guys, but guys are stepping up.”

“I thought it was a great effort,” Islanders coach Scott Gordon
said. “Sixty minutes of good goaltending and good defense. I
thought, obviously, we had some pretty good extended zone time
and as a result, we kept them on their heels.”

Former Islander Ryan Smyth collected two goals and Andrew
Raycroft turned aside 27 shots for the Avalanche, who went 1-5-0
over their longest road trip of the season.

“The first game of this road trip was a carry-over of how well
we were playing,” Colorado coach Tony Granoto said. “Since
then, we have not played well enough to deserve a win. We
haven’t played smart enough and have not had good starts to our

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With the score tied at 1-1, Sim deflected rookie blue-liner Joe
Callahan’s shot to Joensuu at the edge of the crease.

Joensuu, who was recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey
League earlier in the day to take captain Bill Guerin’s spot in
the lineup, banged the puck into the open side of the net at
2:31 of the second period.

“My goal was to make it here, play some games in the first year,
but then that didn’t work out,” Joensuu said. “So I just had to
work hard, play the season (in the AHL) and maybe the next
season I’d get the chance.”

“The one thing I’ve noticed about (Joensuu’s play in) Bridgeport
is that he’s got a willingness and drive to him to get to the
net,” Gordon said. “That’s a good sign that he’s willing to
stand in there and battle.”

Playing in his 13th career game, Callahan collected his first
career point with an assist on the play.

Gervais extended the Islanders’ lead to 3-1 with 6:56 left in
the middle session, converting a rebound of Sim’s shot. It was
Gervais’ first goal since April 18, 2006, snapping a 160-game
goal drought.

“I had a pretty big monkey on my back, but now he’s gone,”
Gervais said. “He went home.”

Smyth scored a wraparound 63 seconds into the third period, but
Tambellini answered at 4:48 to provide the final margin.