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Game Preview #16: In A Bad Way

The Jackets close out what has been a nightmarish home stand against the also-struggling Islanders tonight.

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Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets

November 9, 2013 - 7:00pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Lighthouse Hockey
SBN's Islanders vs Blue Jackets Coverage

First, the good news: the Islanders haven't exactly been tearing it up of late, losers of two in a row and are just 4-7-2 over their last 13 games. Also, they're not starting their backup goalie, so, ya know, Bronx cheer and all for the Jackets.

Now, the bad news. Well, I think you probably know it by now. The Jackets are losers of five in a row, with some pretty demoralizing losses along the way. This is their last game at home before a stretch of seven of eight on the road kicks off on Tuesday. They can't score goals. They can't seem to keep the bad bounces from ending up in their own net. Effort was questioned on Thursday.

Not good times.

The Islanders are a fast offensive team that gave the Jackets some trouble for about 35 minutes earlier in the season. However, they're prone to giving up a lot of goals as well (though that doesn't seem to enable the Jackets' offense these days). Their GAA and PK are actually worse than Columbus's are.

That said, we've seen that they can score goals. THAT said, they got shutout by Carolina's backup goalie the other night, and only registered 21 shots against a Canes defense that doesn't remind anyone of Boston's.

Lineup notes: Ryan Murray and R.J. Umberger are in, Nick Foligno is out. Dalton Prout is in on defense, David Savard draws the healthy scratch. Sergei Bobrovsky is in net.

Really, it boils down to one thing for me tonight: can the Jackets score first? They've been playing from behind--even in their wins--a lot this season, and when you're in a bad way you'll look for any omen to get things going right again. Scoring first against a team that has been a bit down on their luck that's in their third straight road game would be a nice step for Columbus. Play from ahead. I'm sure it will help get the legs moving. And, let's not forget: Todd Richards is still undefeated when the Jackets lead after two periods. Let's extend that streak tonight.

Also, one final note: good God, the Metro division is bad. That is all.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(5-10-0, 10 Points; 7th division, 13th conference)

Brandon Dubinsky Ryan Johansen Cam Atkinson
R.J. Umberger Artem Anisimov Marian Gaborik
Derek MacKenzie Mark Letestu Blake Comeau
Sean Collins Michael Chaput Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

New York Islanders
(6-7-3, 15 Points; 5th Division, 11th Conference)

Thomas Vanek John Tavares Kyle Okposo
Pierre-Marc Bouchard Frans Nielsen Josh Bailey
Michael Grabner Peter Regin Brock Nelson
Colin McDonald Casey Cizikas Matt Martin
Andrew MacDonald Travis Hamonic
Matt Donovan Thomas Hickey
Aaron Ness Eric Boulton
Evgeni Nabokov
Kevin Poulin

Season Series

10/05/13 - Columbus 3 at NY Islanders 2 - SO
11/09/13 - NY Islanders at Columbus
03/23/14 - Columbus at NY Islanders
04/06/14 - NY Islanders at Columbus

2012-2013 Head to Head Stats

Islanders Columbus
2.81 (13) GPG 2.33 (23)
3.06 (26) GAPG 2.93 (23)
18.5% (15) PP% 17.3% (18)
76.0% (27) PK% 78.4% (24)
Frans Nielsen, 8 G leader Marian Gaborik, 5
Kyle Okposo, 14 A leader James Wisniewski, 10
Kyle Okposo, 19 Pts leader Marian Gaborik / James Wisniewski, 11
John Tavares, 24 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 34
3-4-0 Road/Home 3-6-0
11/7 @ Carolina, L 1-0 Last Game 11/7 vs. NY RangersL 4-2
4-5-1 Last 10 3-7-0