Game Preview: Blue Jackets Look To Atone Tuesday's Sloppy Loss In Thursday Clash With Islanders

By Ed Francis on October 21, 2021 at 7:05 am
After their first loss of the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets look to get back in the win column as they welcome the New York Islanders to Nationwide Arena.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
New York Islanders
1-2-0 (2 points)



A blip on the radar en route to a successful season — or the beginning of the long season so often projected during the summer?

That question won't get a definitive answer Thursday, but the Columbus Blue Jackets may get an indication one way or the other when the New York Islanders come to Nationwide Arena.

Columbus came up short Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings, losing 4-1 in the Blue Jackets' first road game of the season. Tied at 0-0 in the third period, the Red Wings slipped a pair past goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and two more into an empty net in a game that shouldn't have been as close as it was.

Coming off his first loss as a head coach, Columbus bench boss Brad Larsen was frank in speaking with the media Wednesday. 

"Turnovers was a huge issue for us, we turned the puck over way too much especially early in the game," said Larsen. 

Turnovers were part of the story, but so too was the lack of puck possession for Columbus. The Blue Jackets were outshot by nearly a two-to-one margin, with the final tally in Detroit’s favor at 45-23.

"For whatever reason we didn't have it last night, and they (Detroit) played well, we didn't play so well. It's a real bad combo,” said Larsen.

Bad play and a date with the Islanders could spell a recipe for disaster. The Blue Jackets metro division rival and Stanley Cup contender dropped their first two games, but seemed to right the ship in a 4-1 win Tuesday over the Chicago Blackhawks.  Goaltender Ilya Sorokin stopped 39 of 40 of shots, and is likely to get the nod in net again Thursday.

For Barry Trotz's Islanders, the game will be their 4th of 13 straight road games to start the season while they wait on the completion of their new arena.

Here's a look at the projected lines for the Blue Jackets:

Columbus Blue Jackets Projected Lines*

29 Patrik Laine 38 Boone Jenner 93 Jakub Voracek
28 Oliver Bjorkstrand 96 Jack Roslovic 59 Yegor Chinakhov
42 Alexandre Texier 34 Cole Sillinger 14 Gus Nyquist
50 Eric Robinson 7 Sean Kuraly 15 Gregory Hofmann
8 Zach Werenski 22 Jake Bean
44 Vladislav Gavrikov 27 Adam Boqvist
46 Dean Kukan 2 Andrew Peeke
Starting Goalie Backup
90 Elvis Merzlikins 70 Joonas Korpisalo
 *subject to change


  • DOMI'S ABSENCE: Columbus seemed to lack chemistry all game long, from missing routine passes to struggling to be in the right position defensively. At least a part of that can be chalked up to the absence of Max Domi, who will miss several weeks with a fractured rib. Without Domi, the Blue Jackets were forced into a multitude of line changes that, at least for one game, did more harm than good. 
  • SILLINGER STRIKES BACK?: Assuming you don't play in the NHL, you were only three seconds behind Cole Sillinger in time on ice during the final period of Tuesday's loss. The reason for his third period benching is unknown, but speculation is out there. Coming off the benching, do we see a motivated Sillinger, or do get a more clear picture of why it happened in the first place?
  • POWER PLAY: The power play has already struck a few times, and looks vastly better than in years past. The Blue Jackets have converted on three of seven man-advantage opportunities. Draw some penalties and go to work!

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