Game of the Month 3/11/19: Columbus Blue Jackets @ New York Islanders Preview

Tonight, the Islanders take on the Blue Jackets for the third time this season.  The Isles won both games these two teams met (3-2 and 3-0).  This game should have a playoff atmosphere for the players as both teams are fighting to keep their playoff hope alive.

As of late, the Isles have not been playing “Islander hockey.”  They barely scratched out two wins against the last place Ottawa Senators and the Philadelphia Flyers put a beating on the Isles, twice in one week.

The Blue Jackets are also not performing up to their expectations.  They were very aggressive at the trade deadline, acquiring Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Adam McQuaid and Kieth Kinkaid.  With the players they have, they should easily be a top-three team in the Metropolitan Division, but they have been struggling, just like the Islanders, to string a few wins together.

On Saturday night, the Islanders took on the Flyers for the second time in one week.  The Islanders were also honoring their legendary GM from the Stanley Cup era, Bill Torrey, who passed away last May.  This time, they were hoping for a much better result than the first game, as they lost 4-1 at the Coliseum.

Back at the Coliseum for the second game, the Isles came out hard-and dominated play for the first few minutes.  Scott Mayfield put the Isles on the board with a shot from the point that was deflected off of a Flyer.  From there on, it was all Flyers.  The Flyers would go on to score five consecutive goals, on 10 shots.  The Islanders were rewarded a 5-on-3 and even a five minute major power play to try to get back in the game.  But their power play has issues and they couldn’t get anything to go for them.  5-2 would be the final as Nick Leddy buried a rebound with three minutes to go.

The Blue Jackets were going into Saturday night’s game against the Penguins winning only two of their last six games.  They also weren’t in a Playoff spot before Saturday’s game.  The Penguins were sitting in third place in the Metropolitan Division before the game.  Boone Jenner started the scoring for the Jackets, as they would go on to take a 2-0 lead.  Zach Aston-Reese added Pittsburgh’s only tally of the game to cut the lead to 2-1 before the Blue Jackets would net two more goals, en route to a 4-1 win.

As of now, the Islanders are in second place in the Metropolitan Division, trailing the Capitals by two points.  The Blue Jackets are in the second wild card spot, and are tied with the Montreal Canadiens (who are not in a Playoff spot).  Only six points separate the Islanders from the Blue Jackets.

It is a tight race to the finish in the Metro and things are starting to heat up.

Eastern Conference Wild Card Standings:

Metropolitan Division:

  1.  WSH 87 pts.
  2. NYI  85 pts.
  3. CAR  81 pts.

Atlantic Division:

  1.  x TBL  108 pts.
  2. BOS  93 pts.
  3. TOR  89 pts.

___________________________

WC1.  PIT  81 pts.

WC2.  CBJ  79 pts.

Leaders:

Record:  CBJ (38-27-3)     NYI (39-22-7)

Points (team):  CBJ (79)     NYI (85)

Points (player):  A. Panarin (73)     M. Barzal (55)

Goals:  C. Atkinson (38)     A. Lee (23)

Assists:  A. Panarin (48)     M. Barzal (38)

SV%:  S. Bobrovski (.906)     R. Lehner (.927)

GAA:  S. Bobrovski (2.77)     R. Lehner (2.19)

 

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