New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets
After Friday's game, there isn't much left to say. The Jackets cling to the last Wild Card spot by virtue of their followers struggling to earn points and having played more games. That makes this one a game in hand on the teams behind Columbus in the standings, and it's one that is ripe for plucking two points.
At first glance, the lineup the Islanders are icing is just flat-out gross, due to injuries and the like. That said, we've seen that this Isles team can skate, and they are hungry with so many young guys getting a taste of NHL action. They've been a relatively hot team of late, and Columbus knows first-hand that you can't overlook them based on their roster alone.
That said, the Islanders played and traveled last night, and lost two more players to injuries. They're also starting their backup goaltender, who sports a 3.17 gaa and .892 save percentage.
There really isn't much more to say other than this: the Jackets simply HAVE to have these two points today. There's no other way around it.
Columbus will continue with its... err... odd lines tonight, at least to start. I don't know what Matt Frattin is doing in practice to earn him top line winger minutes, but sweet bouncing baby Jesus he does not belong up there. I guess, however, the Jackets generated some offense (*some*) the other night, so I guess I'll hold my nose and cheer.
This is a game that can be won on Special Teams. The CBJ Power Play has sprung back to life of late, with Power Play goals in five of their last six games (6-for-18, 33.3%). The Islanders' PK is awful, though they shut Columbus down last time they played (but, then, who wasn't shutting down the CBJ PP then?). The Jackets' PK has been streaky at best of late, but the Islanders are without most of their main PP weapons, so if Columbus can play the aggressive PK that they had in Philadelphia the other night, I like their chances of keeping the Isles' PP off the board.
No matter how they do it, the Jackets simply have to overwhelm and overmatch this Islanders team. It can be done. It must be done.
Now, go and do it.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(39-31-7, 85 Points; 4th division, 8th conference)
|Boone Jenner||Ryan Johansen||Matt Frattin|
|Brandon Dubinsky||Artem Anisimov||Cam Atkinson|
|Matt Calvert||Mark Letestu||Blake Comeau|
|R.J. Umberger||Derek MacKenzie||Jared Boll|
|Fedor Tyutin||James Wisniewski|
|Jack Johnson||Dalton Prout|
|Ryan Murray||David Savard|
New York Islanders
(31-35-11, 73 Points; 8th division, 13th conference)
|Anders Lee||Frans Nielsen||Josh Bailey|
|John Persson||Brock Nelson||Cal Clutterbuck|
|Matt Martin||Ryan Strome||Colin McDonald|
|Johan Sundstrom||Casey Cizikas||Mike Halmo|
|Matt Donovan||Travis Hamonic|
|Kevin Czuczman||Thomas Hickey|
|Scott Mayfield||Matt Carkner|
Head to Head Stats
NY Islanders Columbus 2.70 (15) GPG 2.73 (13) 3.22 (28) GAPG 2.66 (15) 17.1% (20) PP% 17.9% (17) 78.2% (29) PK% 81.9% (15) Kyle Okposo, 27 G leader Ryan Johansen, 31 Kyle Okposo / John Tavares, 42 A leader James Wisniewski, 40 Kyle Okposo, 69 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 56 Matt Carkner, 122 PIM leader Nick Foligno, 96 18-17-2 Road/Home 20-15-4 4/5 vs. Washington, L 4-3 (SO) Last Game 4/4 vs. Chicago, L 4-3 6-2-2 Last 10 4-5-1