After another tough loss for the Columbus Blue Jackets on home ice Friday night, they started a crucial stretch with nine of their next 10 games against Metropolitan division opponents. Saturday night they were in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders.
Columbus did not waste time getting into the Islanders zone, firing the first four shots of the game within the first minute of play.
Throughout the first period, the play was dictated often in the Islanders zone, as Columbus peppered shots early and often at Islanders’ netminder Jaroslav Halak. At one point, Columbus managed a 15-5 shots differential, less than eight minutes into play.
Looking to capitalize upon their punchless offense, and exploit the league-worst Islanders in goals allowed per game (3.62), it was Columbus who found the back of the net first. Josh Anderson tallied his 16th marker, and first power play goal of his career.
#CBJ playing outstanding right now. The Islanders are the worst defensive team in league both goals and shots against. This is to be expected.— Mark Scheig (@markscheig) February 4, 2018
But whatever the Jackets are doing, it’s working.
Aderson’s tally is just his second since Dec. 29, and it was just his third point overall in that span.
PLD ➡️ JUSSI ➡️ ANDY pic.twitter.com/ocYdaIk3al— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) February 4, 2018
Jussi Jokinen earned his first point as a Blue Jacket on the assist. Pierre-Luc Dubois picked up the primary assist.
The lead would be relinquished at 17:38 of the first when Nick Leddy tied the score, his first goal in 31 games, on the power play. John Tavares and Mathew Barzal assisted.
Columbus’ 26 shots on goal in the first period set a franchise record.
As Halak appeared on the ropes in the opening period, he did his best to keep his team in it. With the documented struggles for Columbus in the second period (outscored 56-42) this season, you wondered how failing to capitalize on the number of chances might come back to haunt them.
The Islanders have been outscored 71-57 in the second.
Joonas Korpisalo made 11 saves in the period.
The 38 combined shots between #CBJ and the Islanders in the first are also a franchise record for a single period, surpassing the 37 combined shots with CBJ/Predators in 1st period on 3/26/16.— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) February 4, 2018
The pace of the second period was a bit more even, as each team had six shots on net near the halfway point.
Off a Tavares faceoff in Columbus’ end, New York would pull ahead to take a 2-1 lead. Anthony Beauvillier unleashed a slap shot from the point, catching Josh Bailey with the tip-in deflection on the way into the net past Korpisalo.
After getting five shots on goal Friday night, Cam Atkinson kept shooting the puck.
Just a little over a minute after the Islanders took the lead, Atkinson and the Jackets responded, with Atkinson scoring his eighth goal of the season from the slot. He now has a nine-game point streak (six goals, five assists) versus the Islanders. Artemi Panarin earned his 29th assist on the season.
Atkinson is also on a four-game point streak (two goals, two assists).
After being benched in the second period of Friday’s game, Nick Foligno responded with his 10th goal of the season late in the second period. The play came about in Columbus’ zone, as Josh Bailey’s pass was intercepted by Oliver Bjorkstrand, who found Foligno on the up-ice pass for the full breakaway and goal.
With a one-goal lead entering the third, you knew it would not be easy.
Early in the period, Seth Jones’ attempt to clear the zone hit the board and the puck just evaded Matt Calvert leaving the zone. Jordan Eberle gobbled up the chance in the slot, burying his 18th.
Then just as the Islanders’ second power play ended, Brock Nelson gave the Islanders their second lead, New York scoring two goals in 2:25. The Islanders carried an early 6-1 shot advantage and would outshoot Columbus over the final 40 minutes. Columbus held the overall advantage 49-38.
Regardless, it was not enough.
The Islanders 4-3 win snapped a five-game losing streak to Columbus. Tavares, the Islanders’ points-leader, now has 59 points after his two assists (33) on the night. Atkinson led the night with eight shots on goal. A combined seven players between both teams had at least five shots.
Columbus’ three goals in a game was a first since potting three in their 6-3 loss Jan. 23 in Vegas against the Golden Knights. It’s now just their third game scoring three goals in regulation over the last 14 regulation games.
Columbus heads home to face the Capitals Tuesday night, the first of a home-and-home.