Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a two-point game including a goal and Mathew Barzal scored for the New York Islanders, who defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1, on Thursday at UBS Arena in Long Island, New York.
Hudson Fasching, Brock Nelson, and Pageau had assists. Nelson has a three-game point streak (zero goals, four assists).
Emil Bemstrom scored for the Blue Jackets with 20.5 seconds remaining in the third period. Marcus Bjork and Johnny Gaudreau had assists.
Ilya Sorokin made 20 saves on 21 shots. Joonas Korpisalo made 34 saves on 36 shots.
Patrik Laine did not make the trip as he's out with Covid. Bemstrom was added to the roster on emergency recall. Cole Sillinger (upper body) was activated off injured reserve. Jake Christiansen was sent back to Cleveland. Columbus is 0-2-1 against the Islanders this season with one more meeting on Mar. 24 at Nationwide Arena.
New Day, New Lineup
With Laine out of the lineup, the first line looked a little different. Kent Johnson was back on the second line, working alongside Gus Nyquist and Kirill Marchenko, while Gaudreau played with Jack Roslovic and the recently recalled Bemstrom.
As the score would suggest, there was little to no offense to speak of for the Blue Jackets.
Nyquist had a team-high five shots and Eric Robinson had a team-high three blocked shots. Per Natural Stat Trick, New York had the 5v5 advantage in xGF: 2.89 - 1.15. Per MoneyPuck, the Islanders held the 5v5 advantage, 3.45 - 1.16.
Special Teams Difference
The Blue Jackets' penalty kill has been rolling of late. Conversely, the Islanders' power play has not.
After Columbus killed off two initial penalties in the game, the Jackets let up just their fourth goal on the penalty kill dating back to Dec. 9 (21-of-25).
Initially, while on the power play in the second period, Gaudreau and the Jackets were assessed the double minor for interference and slashing. This led to 4v4 play and then the Islanders got on their third-man advantage.
This is where Barzal scored his eighth of the season on the power play at 16:39, helping the Islanders break an 0-for-25 rut on the power play over their last eight games entering this one, including two chances tonight to extend to 0-for-27, before scoring on the third attempt. Barzal has three goals in his last two games.
Columbus was 0-for-2 on the power play and two-for-three on the penalty kill.
With Thursday's loss, the Blue Jackets are on a season-high seven-game losing streak, matching their season-high from last season.
The Chicago Blackhawks—Columbus' next opponent—fell to the St. Louis Blues tonight, 3-1, in St. Louis, meaning the Blue Jackets still hold a two-point advantage over Chicago for last place in the NHL standing.
Don't blame the Columbus goaltender for tonight's loss. Korpisalo had 1.78 goals saved above expected per MoneyPuck.
New Year's Eve
The Blue Jackets will host the Blackhawks on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 1:00 pm ET. Chicago won the first meeting at the United Center, 5-2, on Friday, Dec. 23.