The NY Islanders look to finish off a perfect homestand as they get set to host the Columbus Blue Jackets at UBS Arena.
Following the Christmas break, the Islanders wasted no time attacking the Pittsburgh Penguins and their goaltender, Tristan Jarry, on Tuesday night. Just 1:03 into the game, Isles captain Anders Lee would bury his first of two goals on the night. The Penguins would answer, not long after, to tie the game at one heading into the first intermission. From there, it was all Isles. Two goals in each of the final two periods lead New York to a 5-2 victory against their division foe. Mathew Barzal would score two goals in the game, while Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson would each notch two points of their own. Goalie Ilya Sorokin stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced en route to win number 12 on the year.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have been on an unexpected extended Christmas break. They were originally scheduled to play the Buffalo Sabres at home on Tuesday but the Sabres were unable to travel to Columbus due to bad weather in their area. This long break could be a good thing for the Jackets as they are aiming to find themselves after entering the holiday on a six-game losing streak. The skid reached that number when the Blue Jackets fell to the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 5-2. Four goals in the first two 20-minute frames gave the Hawks a 4-0 lead that they would never give away. Kirill Marchenko and Marcus Bjork were able to cut the lead in half but it was not enough.
This will be the third meeting of the 2022-23 season between the Isles and Jackets. The first two times these two played, it was the Islanders who walked away victorious. The first matchup came on November 12th when the Isles picked up a 4-3 overtime win. The teams would meet again less than two weeks later, with New York squeaking out another one goal win, this time winning 3-2.
All-time, the Islanders hold a 24-16-1-7 record against the Blue Jackets.
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In the first two meetings earlier this season, it was Nelson who gave Columbus fits. The Isles’ second-line center scored two goals in the first game and then netted the game-winner on November 25th at Nationwide Arena. I expect Brock to have another big night for New York as they look to improve to 3-0-0 against the Blue Jackets in the 2022-23 campaign.
This past Summer, Isles fans were hoping that Lou Lamoriello would add to a team that had been lacking some offense. The name filled with rumors was Johnny Gaudreau, who chose to sign with Columbus on a massive seven-year deal. The 29-year-old leads the last-place Jackets in points with 34 and will look to make an impact for his team as they aim to snap a six-game slide.