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Blue Jackets 4, Islanders 0 (EN): Who needs goal scoring?

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Oh yeah, we do.

NHL: New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets
Need to look more like Saturday and Sunday than tonight.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Greiss entered this game with a sparkling record against the Blue Jackets. Tonight, it was tarnished.

Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky entered tonight on a bit of a hot streak, earning two shutouts from his last three starts. He added another one to his belt tonight.

The Blue Jackets maintained their playoff hopes after tonight’s victory, while the Islanders fell into third place in the Metro Division by way of goal differential. The Penguins own a better one and second place.

[Game Sum | Event Sum | Natural Stat Trick | HockeyViz]

Decent Period, Except for the Score

The Islanders got off to a pretty great start tonight in terms of the process. But their one major gaffe cost them. Casey Cizikas jumped onto the ice before Mathew Barzal got off as Anders Lee caught Jordan Eberle’s forward bank pass, putting the Islanders down a man exactly 4:00 in.

It was almost entirely killed off, but deadline acquisition Ryan Dzingel converted on a shot that Greiss might like to have back, though it was a laser and he may have been screened by Johnny Boychuk. For Dzingel, the goal was his second in consecutive games but only his third as a Jacket.

At even strength, it was mostly Isles through the first, especially in the scoring chance department, but Bobrovsky was on his toes and the score was 1-0 after 1. Sometimes, that’s hockey.

Not a Great Period, Except for the Score

The Blue Jackets played better overall through the second period. There were no penalties for either side, but the Blue Jackets played with the desperation that comes with the taste of blood when you’re on the playoff bubble and need points.

That being said, the Islanders weren’t without offensive zone time. Problem was, they weren’t able to do much with their opportunities. Bobrovsky didn’t have to be too fantastic in the second. Greiss did, and didn’t allow a goal this period.

Not What You Want, Unless You’re Columbus

The Islanders tried in vain to get something going again as they had in the first, but all it did was cost them a goal. Artemi Panarin chipped at a soft pass from Anthony Beauvillier toward Boychuk. Both he and D-partner Nick Leddy got caught flat-footed and Panarin broke in alone for a five-hole goal through the wickets of Greiss.

That Blue Jackets goal took the wind out of the New York’s sails. On the few chances they did get, Columbus mostly suffocated them. But for the most part, the Islanders struggled to connect on exit passes and to enter the offensive zone.

One such instance of this struggle resulted in a turnover in the defensive zone. Boychuk gave the puck right to Oliver Bjorkstrand. His spinning floater snuck past Greiss on the short side, all but ending the game. Coach Barry Trotz did pull Greiss down 3-0 with over 3 minutes left for an extra attacker, but it barely resulted in a shot. It seemed like Columbus spent more time in their offensive zone than the Islanders in theirs, and Cam Atkinson added an empty-netter to put him one goal away from 40 on the year.

Thoughts

Not getting a goal out of their first period play probably sunk them, in hindsight, though a lack of a 60-minute effort in a fairly important game against a playoff-caliber division rival.

The Islanders have now been shutout in three of their last five games. To his credit, Bobrovsky has his second straight shutout and third in four starts, so he’s hot, and he withstood the Islanders’ chances in the first. To his team’s credit, they disallowed any more real chances for the blue and orange after the first. The Blue Jackets are still a John Tortorella team with the lead — they stick-check and block a lot of shots.

Greiss had a really good second period, but the goals he let up weren’t great.

Columbus was definitely playing like a loss would put their playoff chances on life support. The Islanders didn’t play like they were going for home ice or the division title.

I bet they’re just saving the clincher for the Coliseum on Saturday against the Sabres.

Up Next

The Islanders finish up this two-game road swing in Winnipeg on Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. EST. The Jets are a good team and playing well, so it will be a good test. A win would be nice.