The New York Islanders are currently in a tough competition with several teams for one of the two wild card playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the teams in a heated battle with the Islanders as the NHL playoffs quickly approach. Both teams were tied for ninth place in the conference with 60 points on Tuesday, February 13. They also happened to have a game against each other at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center the same day.
The game against the Blue Jackets could not have started any better for the Islanders. They killed off two bad tripping penalties by Ross Johnson early in the first period before taking the lead with a power play goal by John Tavares with just over two minutes remaining in the period. New York did not play their best hockey in the first period, but they were still heading to the locker room with the lead.
New York would finally start to pay for their relatively poor play in the second period. Nick Leddy made a careless delay of game penalty that allowed the Blue Jackets to tie the game with a power play goal from Oliver Bjorkstrand. Columbus added another power play goal in the final minute of the second period when Pierre-Luc Dubois put the puck in the back of the net.
The Islanders were able to eliminate the careless penalties in the third period, but they were still unable to mount a comeback. Brandon Dubinsky opened the scoring six minutes into the final period with his fifth goal of the season. Cam Atkinson pushed the Columbus lead to three goals when he scored his ninth goal of the season 43 seconds later. The Blue Jackets controlled the puck most of the quarter, so the Islanders were unable to find much success on offense. The final 13 minutes of the game were scoreless as New York fell to Columbus 4-1.
The New York Islanders can blame this loss on their lack of effort on defense. They surrendered 51 shots to the Blue Jackets while only putting 30 shots on net. Goalie Jaroslav Halak did his best to bail out his team, but it is hard to win in the NHL when you give up that many scoring chances. The Islanders will have another tough game when the New York Rangers make the short trip to Brooklyn on Thursday, February 15.