Sergei Bobrovsky tallied his league-leading eighth shutout of the year (his second in a row) and the Columbus Blue Jackets scored three third period goals in a key win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night, 4-0.
Ryan Dzingel opened the scoring with a power play goal in the first period and Artemi Panarin, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson (empty netter) all struck in the third to put the Islanders away for good. Atkinson and Matt Duchene each totaled two points on the night.
Bobrovsky made 26 saves to pull even with Marc-Andre Fleury for the NHL lead in shutouts, with eight. Thomas Greiss stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced at the other end for New York.
Zach Werenski left the game midway through the third with an apparent lower body issue. He left the ice and came back, testing what looked like some sort of leg/groin issue before ultimately heading down the tunnel and ending his night early.
The Islanders tested Bob throughout the first. The Russian had to make 10 saves in the period, including some big ones early.
Columbus drew the game’s only power play four minutes into the game when the Islanders were caught with too many men on the ice. Oliver Bjorkstrand created some good looks before Ryan Dzingel struck paydirt with 18 seconds left on the advantage for a 1-0 CBJ lead.
Remember those aforementioned Bob saves? He made a sweet glove save on Nick Leddy shortly after the goal as the Islanders looked to tie:
Sergei Bobrovsky looks locked in early: pic.twitter.com/dKi3f2GLHF— The Cannon (@cbjcannon) March 26, 2019
Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mathew Barzal got into during the period’s final minute. Just guys bein’ dudes.
The Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission despite the Islanders holding an 8-1 edge in scoring chances (zero high danger, though, according to NaturalStatTrick) and 10-7 shot advantage.
An uneventful second period saw the Blue Jackets do the most important part of their jobs: keep the Islanders scoreless.
There wasn’t much to write home (or here) about in the middle frame. Shots went 15-9 in favor of the CBJ and Bob did Bob things, including another gorgeous glove save and a stop on a partial breakaway.
Adam McQuaid gets back on Casey Cizikas and Bob seals off the post to keep the Islanders scoreless: pic.twitter.com/KkbvtJ24xG— The Cannon (@cbjcannon) March 27, 2019
The Blue Jackets iced the puck five times in the period but created six high-danger scoring chances to the Islanders’ one, including a juicy open look for Brandon Dubinsky that Thomas Greiss was able to knock away.
Heading into the final 20 minutes of a game Columbus desperately needed to win, everyone in the building knew another goal would go a long way to getting the W. Just 2:38 into the period, Artemi Panarin got loose.
Matt Duchene shoveled a rebound to Panarin, who hooked up with Cam Atkinson for a give-and-go that sent Panarin off to the races. From there, the Breadman beat Greiss for an emphatic 2-0 lead that set the tone for the rest of the game.
Midway through the period, Bjorkstrand tacked on another goal. Alexander Wennberg won a board battle that sent the puck to Bjorkstrand, who turned and wristed a laser that beat Greiss through the tiniest of gaps for a 3-0 CBJ lead.
Courtesy of Pale Dragon: Bjorkstrand scored three goals in first 30 games...and has 14 in the last 41.
The Islanders pulled Greiss with a little under three minutes left, and it took nearly all of the remaining time for the Blue Jackets to cash in. Cam Atkinson eventually found the net for his 39th of the season and the nail in New York’s 4-0 coffin.
- Montreal blew the doors off of Florida to keep the Canadiens ahead of the Blue Jackets for the final wild card spot. Thursday’s game in Nationwide will be enormous.
- Washington also beat Carolina. Doesn’t hurt.
- The Blue Jackets have won four straight games at home, all against playoff teams—Pittsburgh, Boston, Carolina and New York (that stat courtesy of PD).
- David Savard blocked five shots, every single one of them important. Several came in the crease. Bob owes Savard a beer for his work tonight in getting that shutout.
- Speaking of Bob, he’s allowed only three goals on 123 shots. His shutout streak is over 150 minutes. He has been on one, to put it mildly.
- Neither team committed a penalty in the second or third periods. Easy night for the officials.
- Really hope Werenski’s okay. No update from John Tortorella after the game. This team really can’t afford another defensive injury.
- Interesting fact from Micah Blake McCurdy:
- Could that top line be turning around? Panarin and Atkinson seeing some of their shots go in the net may get them going down the final stretch...here’s hoping, at least.