Joonas Korpisalo, fresh off being named the NHL’s Third Star of the week on Monday afternoon, followed up that honor with 35 saves in a 3-2 win Monday night, holding off a stingy, yet hot-shooting Islanders team at Nassau Coliseum.
Nathan Gerbe, just recalled from Cleveland over the weekend, scored his first NHL goal since 2016, and Vladislav Gavrikov scored with 3:29 left in the game to give Columbus its season-best fifth-straight win.
You come to expect a tight, grinding, defensive battle against Barry Trotz and his teams. However, this game featured lots of offensive chances, and each goaltender doing their part to keep it close despite a high-volume of shots.
The scoring started first for the Islanders following a battle along the boards in the first period. Gaining possession, Anders Lee struck twine with his 11th of the season. Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle earned assists on the play.
Following a commercial break at the 12:30 mark, Jody Shelley circled the issues that led to the goal. Columbus had three onlookers in Alexander Wennberg, Gavrikov, and Gerbe, who had Jordan Eberle surrounded, yet Barzal was able to enter the scene and scoop the puck out.
You see four Blue Jackets in the frame but no less, Barzal was able to take the puck down low, behind the net, and find Lee.
After the goal, the Blue Jackets seemed to find their way a little more, outshooting the Isles 9-2 to end the period.
The offensive breakthrough for Columbus came on the power play with Kevin Stenlund scoring his second of the season, through traffic on the release, and Zach Werenski getting an assist.
Columbus nearly capitalized not long after with chaos to the front of Thomas Greiss.
In his first NHL game in two seasons, the five-foot-five Gerbe didn’t take long to be a noticeable player for the Blue Jackets. Gerbe scored his first goal in three years when his backhand shot was flipped right through the Islanders goaltender. Wennberg scored an assist on the play, and all of this coming off a face-off loss in the offensive zone. Hard work for loose pucks pays off.
New York tied the score at two with the speedy Barzal picking up his team-leading 16th goal of the season, and second of the game.
A second-chance slap shot by Johnny Boychuk was ripped and Barzal, in one motion, closed the gap quickly to complete the wraparound opportunity. Eberle also picked up his second assist of the game.
Through two periods of play, the score was knotted at two, the shots in Columbus’ favor ever so slightly, 30-26, and each team picking up 17 alone in the second period.
The third period was equally as exciting as the first two, with fireworks along the way. A couple of scrums, including Ryan Real’s favorite player, Pierre-Luc Dubois, involving himself amongst the other team per typical, and also a nice flop by Barzal which led to an unsportsmanlike penalty on his part, were just some of the highlights.
Korpisalo was huge all night, while also preserving a tied game on a short-handed Islanders chance by Casey Cizikas.
But the biggest, most important play of the period was the eventual game-winner by Gavrikov for his fourth goal of the season. Dubois and Alexandre Texier picked up assists on the play.
It was a pretty play, with Gavrikov skating in, lobbing the puck to Texier who threw it at Greiss, and Gavrikov sweeping around the back of the net to find the rebound.
That 3-2 score held up for a big two points in New York. In addition to the season-long five-game winning streak by Columbus, they are also on a season-best eight-game points streak. That's also the longest active streak in the league.
They’ll look to extend those streaks, as well as their winning streak against the Capitals as the two reconvene Friday night from Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. The Blue Jackets are 2-0 against them this season, with both wins coming during the month of December amid this latest run.
David Savard returned to action after missing the prior two games due to illness. He had three shots and played 21:06. Nathan Gerbe had a team-high five shots for Columbus. Anders Lee led the Islanders with five shots. Seth Jones led the game with 25:38 ice-time. Mathew Barzal is on a three-game goal streak. The win at the Islanders is the first since February 13, 2018. During this eight-game points streak, the Blue Jackets have outscored third period opponents 13-2. Nathan Gerbe’s goal as the first since Mar. 10, 2016 with the Carolina Hurricanes. Joonas Korpisalo has 17 wins on the season, which ties him for second-most in the league.
With tonight's game, head coach John Tortorella moves into a tie for 13th place all-time on the NHL games coached list. He's coached 1,294 NHL games (638-507-37-111), pulling him even with Jacques Martin. #CBJ— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) December 24, 2019
Korpisalo made 35 saves in the win, his fifth-straight victory, a career-high. He's picked up points in eight-straight games (6-0-2), also a career-high (Prev: 7-straight, 10/4/18-11/15/18). In his past eight outings: 6-0-2, 1.68 GAA, .942 SV%, 1 SO. #CBJ— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) December 24, 2019