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Game #8 Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets host New York Islanders seeking points in four straight games

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Here’s what you need to know.

New York Islanders v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets
Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Lighthouse Hockey

New York Islanders, 4-3-0, 8 points, 4th Metro, 8th East
@
Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-3-1, 7 points, 5th Metro, 10th East

After falling behind early to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Columbus Blue Jackets fought back to earn a road point against the Chicago Blackhawks in the United Center on Friday night. The team fell in overtime as the Elvis Merzlikins, making his first start in two weeks, made the initial save on a Patrick Kane shot before the rebound deflected into the net off of Jonathan Toews.

Tonight, the team returns home on a back to back to host the New York Islanders. Joonas Korpisalo will get the start in net against the divisional rival that bested the Jackets in three of four games last year and was able to keep the Jackets off the scoresheet entirely twice.

Concerned eyes will return to the power play that went 0-4 in Chicago last night. The team’s struggles with the man advantage continue well into their third year and fans will find it hard to support a unit that has shown no adjustments and no willingness to make structural changes.

The Jackets have points in three straight games, though they will be disappointed in the outcome with last night’s game. They have to find a way to put it behind them and earn a critical two points against a divisional rival tonight.

Player to Watch

Pierre-Luc Dubois

Pierre-Luc Dubois was one of just a few Jackets players to score against the Islanders last season (more on that later) as the Blue Jackets struggled to topple their divisional foes. Dubois has played solid-if-unspectacular hockey to start this season with just four points (2-2-3) in seven games played thus far this season, including the opening goal last night in Chicago. Dubois will have to be on his toes to counter the Isles’ best player in Matthew Barzal. Many have been looking for Dubois to break out and have a big season this year and blossom without Artemi Panarin on his wing, and now would be a great time for that to start to take hold (especially after New Jersey Devils’ center Nico Hischier signed a seven year, $50.75 million dollar deal on Friday to set a benchmark for any contract extension negotiations).

Jackets Notes

The Blue Jackets have just four players on their roster who scored goals against the Isles last season: Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cam Atkinson, Markus Hannikainen, and Oliver Bjorkstrand) ... Gustav Nyquist has points in three straight games with his assist on PLD’s opener last night ... With his 50th goal last night, Dubois became the second fastest Jacket to reach the milestone (171 games, behind only Rick Nash’s 133 games) ... With the assist on Markus Nutivaara’s goal last night, Oliver Bjorkstrand now has 100 career points

The Other Bench

The New York Islanders have won three games in a row coming into tonight’s matchup, but have just one win in regulation (over the Winnipeg Jets) ... Oliver Wahlstrom has looked outstanding for the Isles thus far, his iXG and xGF% have been sky high during his rookie season ... The win over the Jets included two goals from Mathew Barzal ... Semyon Varlamov is 2-2 with a 2.54 GAA and .923 SV% with his new club to start the season

Season Series

10/19/2019 NYI @ CBJ
11/30/2019 CBJ @ NYI
12/23/2019 CBJ @ NYI
03/30/2020 NYI @ CBJ

Stats

New York Islanders Columbus
2.43 (27) GPG 2.33 (28)
2.57 (8) GAPG 3.33 (20)
33.3% (4) PP% 16.7% (23)
72.2% (23) PK% 73.7% (22)
44.16% (30) 5v5 Corsi % 51.07% (11)
44.35% (29) 5v5 Fenwick % 53.14% (7)
44.06% (30) 5v5 Shot % 53.51% (6)
.938 (8) 5v5 Save % .911 (19)
Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, 3 G Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 3
Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Devon Toews, 3 A Leader Alexander Wennberg, Riley Nash, Seth Jones, 3
Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, 6 P Leader Alexander Wennberg, 4
Brock Nelson, 10 PIM Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 7
1-1-0 Home / Road 2-2-0
4-3-0 Last 10 3-3-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Gustav Nyquist Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Alexander Wennberg Oliver Bjorkstand
Alexandre Texier Boone Jenner Emil Bemstrom
Sonny Milano Riley Nash Jakob Lilja
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Ryan Murray Markus Nutivaara
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins
New York Islanders
Andres Lee Mathew Barzal Tom Kuhhackl
Anthony Beauvillier Brock Nelson Michael dal Colle
Josh Bailey Derick Brassard Oliver Wahlstrom
Ross Johnston Leo Komorov Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews Scott Mayfield
Nick Leddy Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Greiss
Semyon Varlamov