Tuesday night was the regular-season finale between the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders. Both teams came into play tied with 60 points, just one point ahead of the last-place Rangers, and one point out of the final wild-card spot.
Which is naturally occupied by two other division foes.
It almost looked like deja vu as Columbus matched their franchise-mark with 26 first period shots, set 10 days ago against these Islanders. New York scored the games’ first goal when John Tavares converted on the power play, his co-team lead, 29th, and 600th for his career.
#CBJ gets the shots, but NYI gets the goal and lead 1-0— Alison (@AlisonL) February 14, 2018
Jackets with a heavy offensive push in the first:
67.57% of 5v5 shot attempts
84.21% (!) of 5v5 scoring chances
75% of hi-danger attempts
A scrappy score off a scramble in front of Bob the difference. pic.twitter.com/M8DR2PQDlq
Columbus outshot New York 26-11 but lost 20 of 24 faceoffs.
More shots, and a goal! A power play goal! Twice!
Oliver Bjorkstrand slapped a shot past Halak with nine seconds remaining on the teams’ third power-play chance.
catch.— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) February 14, 2018
The Jackets grabbed the lead at 19:03, their second power-play goal on four opportunities, when Pierre-Luc Dubois rang one off the post and in for his 13th goal. Columbus outshot the Islanders 15-7 in the second and held a 41-18 advantage through two periods.
Just like the last outing on Long Island, Columbus took to the third period looking to hold onto a one-goal lead. The Islanders are second in the league with 71 third period goals, and New York nearly tied it early in the period when Jack Johnson lost the puck behind Bobrovsky’s net and made the point-look stop on Anthony Beauvillier in the slot.
It was an incredible effort by Jordan Eberle who corraled the puck and fired a one-handed pass to Beauvillier.
But “Bob” was better.
The much-needed insurance goal came by way of Brandon Dubinsky on the wrap-around at 6:01.
Only 43 seconds later, Cam Atkinson extended the Jackets lead to three. Panarin fed Atkinson with the cross-ice pass in front, and Atkinson glided in, lifting the puck over Halak. Atkinson now has a 10-game point streak versus the Islanders (seven goals, five assists).
Werenski picked up his career-high, third assist of the night.
Columbus picks up the 4-1 win, holding off the Islanders third-period surge, picking up timely power-play goals, and shooting the daylights out of their opponents again. They set a season-high 51 shots on goal, and now have 10 goals, 101 shots over these past two games. The win is Columbus’ first regulation road win at the Islanders since Nov. 29, 2002.
It’s also their first two-game win streak since early January.
But hey, that was so fun, let’s do it again tomorrow night against the Maple Leafs! Full recap, and game preview against Toronto tomorrow morning.