The NY Islanders played a dominant and desperate game for third straight win

New York Islanders v Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Islanders v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

The New York Islanders are back in a playoff spot with six games remaining following their 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Thursday night. Two days after having to come from behind in the third period against the 49-point Chicago Blackhawks, it was refreshing to see them be the dominant team against the 62-point Blue Jackets on the road, though that didn't prevent the game from being very much undecided heading into the final minutes tied at 2.

We've been waiting for the Islanders to play a full 60-minute game and to look like a desperate team playing for a playoff spot, and last night, it finally happened.

By any measure, the game should not have been close last night. Per Natural Stat Trick, the team had 5.84 expected goals and 24 high-danger shots, both the highest numbers recorded this season. We joke about MoneyPuck's "Deserve To Win O'Meter," but that had the Islanders winning 84.4% of the time with that performance.

The Islanders overwhelmed Columbus through the first two periods with 56 shot attempts to just 32, along with a 32 to 15 shot advantage. It was also notably the first time since November that the Islanders held their opponent scoreless in the second period in consecutive games. Even the fourth line of Matt Martin, Kyle MacLean, and Cal Clutterbuck dictated play offensively. Per Eric Hornick, the line was on the ice together for 6:34 and had 18 shot attempts to the Blue Jackets' one.

"We weren't able to take the lead in the second, but I thought we did a good job of coming out strong in the third, finding the lead, and then playing with it," defenseman Ryan Pulock said.

As worrisome as it was to watch little-known Jet Greaves stand on his head throughout the second period, the Islanders came out in the third the way they had played the first 40 minutes, and Noah Dobson a goal that both he and the team needed. It was the type of performance teams that are serious about the post-season need to have against weaker opponents, and hopefully, it will lead to better offensive rhythm and confidence when they face a big step up in competition against the Nashville Predators on Saturday, and the New York Rangers are Tuesday.