What is it with the New York Islanders?
On paper, their team does not look that strong, and yet they keep winning and winning. Everyone is expecting an Anaheim Ducks-like collapse but it's not happening. The Columbus Blue Jackets got a first-hand look at what the Islanders can do to teams, and it was not pretty. They can lull you in and take advantage of mistakes. This strategy might not work in the playoffs, but it certainly worked as they blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0.
Here are three things from the game:
The Islanders have some strong offensive players on their roster, including Mat Barzal, Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle. No disrespect, but Casey Cizikas is not one of those players. He's been a solid fourth liner for most of his career, chipping in seven to eight goals and 20-25 points. He's having a career year this season, but this is not a player who should beat you in a game. Cizikas was able to get behind the Blue Jackets defense twice and scored on both breakaways, putting Columbus is a hole they couldn't climb out of.
The Blue Jackets got a little taste of their own medicine on Thursday. Everything they did to Washington on Tuesday, protecting the slot, limiting chances, the Islanders did to them. The Islanders just do not allow many goals. They have allowed the fewest goals in the league at 136, and their +28 goal differential ranks seventh in the NHL. Through two periods the Blue Jackets couldn't get any sort of good high danger chances as the Islanders took away lanes and blocked a ton of shots. Anything that got through was gobbled up by Thomas Greiss.
John Tortorella used Wennberg a ton in this game. Wennberg played 19:04, the second most among the forwards behind Artemi Panarin. Wennberg was elevated to the top line playing alongside Panarin and Cam Atkinson, as Tortorella shook up his lines to try and create some offense. It worked out well for Wennberg. With Panarin and Atkinson he had a 73.91% Corsi at 5 on 5 and was on the ice for two of the Blue Jackets six scoring chances. Overall Wennberg led the team with 64.86% Corsi at 5-on-5. This is obviously not a long-term thing, but it was good to see Wennberg have a strong game.
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