Game #26 Recap: Blue Jackets Can’t Hang on Against Islanders, Lose 3-2

Maybe a two-goal lead really is dangerous

Up 2-0 midway through Saturday night’s game against the New York Islanders, the Columbus Blue Jackets allowed three straight goals to fall in a losing road effort, 3-2.

Markus Hannikainen and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for the CBJ and Sergei Bobrovsky made 24 saves—several of them classic big Bob stops—in the loss.

Saturday’s contest marked the first Islanders regular-season game at Nassau Coliseum since 2015, so you know the building was primed for any spark the Islanders could give them—and they got it, with two goals in the second and a game-winner in the third.

First Period

The first period saw two penalties for each team but zero goals in a scoreless opening stanza. Pierre-Luc Dubois took a tripping call by sticking his knee out in a sketchy check on Leo Komarov 62 seconds into the game, 11 minutes before Anders Lee and David Savard went to the box for roughing each other. The Blue Jackets also squandered a power play with four minutes to go as Jordan Eberle sat for hooking Lukas Sedlak.

The Blue Jackets controlled play for much of the first, winning the shot count 9-5 and scoring chances 6-2. The visitors’ 62.5 CF% at 5v5 and 59.09 FF% also offers a glimpse into how they managed the puck, albeit without putting it in the net.

Second Period

CBJ fans had reason to cheer in the second as Columbus scored two goals in the span of 1:47, striking first at the 6:46 mark. Markus Hannikainen hit the deck without the puck on a hard check from Johnny Boychuck in front of the net, but the young forward stuck with the play and eventually slammed home a rebound on a Seth Jones shot.

Blue Jackets 1, Islanders 0, 13:14 left in the second period

Dubois followed up soon after. The sophomore received a Cam Atkinson pass from behind the net and collected himself before rifling a wrister past Thomas Greiss to give Columbus a 2-0 edge and his 13th goal of the season:

Blue Jackets 2, Islanders 0, 11:27 left in the second period

The Blue Jackets have, at times this season, been criticized for appearing to take their foot off the gas when they possess a lead. On an unrelated note, Anders Lee appeared to score on a play where the puck appeared to hit his hand and eventually deflected into the net. Sure enough, after a lengthy review, the goal counted and cut the Blue Jackets’ lead in half.

Blue Jackets 2, Islanders 1, 8:01 left the second period

The Islanders erased the Columbus lead a few minutes later, when Anthony Beauvillier finished a two-on-one by following up his own shot to beat Bob five-hole and make it a 2-2 game. The Nassau Coliseum crowd had come back to life at this point, was fully behind their home club, and the Jackets may have been lucky to reach intermission tied in a stunning reversal of fortune.

Third Period

The first several minutes of the third passed without much to say about the CBJ except to mention how Bobrovsky kept the game even with plays like this:

Columbus headed to the power play at the 6:23 mark when Thomas Hickey boarded Artemi Panarin, giving the Blue Jackets their first man advantage since the first period. After a minute timeout…it took all of four seconds for Nick Foligno to hold Casey Cizikas and make it a four-on-four situation.

Forty-five seconds after *that*, Cizikas hung out in front of the net and lost Zach Werenski (trying to block a nonexistent shot), taking a pass from behind the net and converting for a 3-2 New York lead.

Islanders 3, Blue Jackets 2, 12:51 left in the third period

More big saves from Bob:

The Blue Jackets turned in some tremendous pressure near the final media timeout, staying in the Islanders zone for what felt like at least two minutes. Several shifts saw the CBJ cycle through the o-zone as they worked to create a chance, finally firing a few shots at Greiss—who proved equal to the task and covered up for a commercial break.

Columbus kept the pressure on the Islanders and pulled Bob with 90 seconds to go, but could not break through and left the ice with the 3-2 loss.

Final Thoughts

  • It sure felt like the Blue Jackets blew a winnable game against division opponent! Not great!
  • To that end, the CBJ’s third period advanced stats looked similar to the first: 64.71 CF% at 5v5 and 62.96 FF% with a 14-9 scoring chance edge (6-4 high danger).
  • Cam Atkinson scored his 300th point with an assist on Dubois’s goal, good enough for third all-time in franchise history behind Rick Nash (547) and David Vyborny (317). He also extended his point-streak to 10 straight games. Not too shabby.
  • Ryan Murray left the game late in the third. Tom Reed reported he was seen limping around the locker room postgame.
  • It was admittedly cool to see the Islanders return to a venue they never should’ve left in the first place. Suspect that atmosphere played more than a small part in rallying the Islanders off the mat.
  • Scott Harrington played 7:27 and logged a 36.36 CF% in all situations. MrSwift made the point in Slack: “Why ice him at all if we’re gonna force the horses to play 26+ and he can barely even spell them?”
  • That was a real bad penalty by Nick Folingo.
  • This was a regular season game one day into December. Lot of season left and some good lessons to take away from this, hopefully. Back at it again at Krispy Kreme on Tuesday at home against Calgary./

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