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Game #76 Recap: Columbus goalies stand tall, Islanders win anyway

Apr 4, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Erik Gudbranson (44) dives for the puck against New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) in the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It was announced before the game that Gaudreau would be out due to an illness. That shuffled the forward lines quite a bit. The even more depleted forward group led to a predictable result. The Islanders dominated the game despite the Jackets being able to keep it close. Here’s how it went down.

1st Period

The Islanders struck first on the power play. Danforth was penalized for hooking leading up to the goal, and Engvall deflected a shot from the point, which made its way past Tarasov.

NYI PP Goal 1-0: Engvall (Pulock, Palmieri) 7:53

Fortunately, the Jackets tied up the game when Severson drew a slash. Voronkov cleaned up a Marchenko shot in front of the net. It’s kind of hard to move that man out of the way.

CBJ PP Goal 1-1: Voronkov (Marchenko, Texier) 9:45

The period would end tied, but two more goals had to be scored before then. First, a quick stretch pass off a turnover caught Werenski by surprise, leading to a two-on-one for the Islanders. Barzal’s pass didn’t miss, and neither did Horvat’s shot.

NYI Goal 2-1: Horvat (Barzal, Romanov) 13:48

Less than four minutes later, another Russian tied the game. This time, it was Marchenko. In a great individual effort, he stole the puck from an Islander below the goal line and bounced it off of Sorokin’s helmet. Nasty.

CBJ Goal 2-2: Marchenko (Werenski, Sillinger) 17:22

Unfortunately, before the period ended, Tarasov left the game after colliding with Jiricek. With this team, the injuries never stop.

The Islanders dominated possession at 5v5. Despite giving up two goals, Tarasov still managed to save 0.19 goals above expected.

2nd Period

Anders Lee had a rough first half of the period. First, Olivier blew up him in the corner after swatting away a shot attempt. Then, Lee got sandwiched between both Danforth and Malatesta in open ice. The second one led to a bit of a scrum before both teams skated away.

The Islanders continued to dominate the game, but luckily, Greaves started where Tarasov left off. He stopped all 14 shots. The Islanders led in expected goals 3.94-1.58 after two.

3rd Period

Another Islander shot was bound to go in eventually. Dobson took a shot from the top of the faceoff circle. It deflected off of Gudbranson and went post and in.

NYI Goal 3-2: Dobson (Barzal, Romanov) 3:20

The Blue Jackets’ first shot of the period didn’t come until after the seven-minute mark.

Severson received a hooking penalty just after the halfway point. The Islanders managed one shot before killing off the man advantage.

Vincent pulled Greaves with 3:30 left in the game. The first (and only) Columbus opportunity with the extra skater came on a Marchenko wraparound attempt. From there, the Jackets struggled to get set up in the offense zone.

An Islander empty netter iced the game.

NYI EN Goal 4-2: Palmieri (unassisted) 19:22

Final Thoughts

The Islanders dominated despite it only being a one-goal game (not counting the empty netter). Expected goals in all situations favored the away team 5.84-2.53. Unblocked shot attempts also heavily tilted the same way 41-27. The combined play of Tarasov and Greaves kept the home team in the game.

It’s difficult to put into words how bad the Provorov-Gudbranson defensive pair was. They got caved in possession-wise.

Only one Columbus player had a positive expected goals differential. Kirill Marchenko.

The 750+ day streak of not having won three games in a row continues. Gross.

Up Next

The Flyers take on the Jackets in Nationwide on Saturday at 7:00 PM ET.