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game recap

Jackets close season by routing Islanders 7-3

Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 9:52 PM

NHL.com

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Jackets close season by routing Islanders 7-3
New York Islanders 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 7
Three Stars of the Game
Cam Atkinson
1st
G: 2Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 15:59
James Wisniewski
2nd
G: 1Shots: 5
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 26:03
Jack Johnson
3rd
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 25:44
A disappointing season for the Columbus Blue Jackets ended on a happy note.

The Jackets closed out 2011-12 by pounding the New York Islanders 7-3, delighting a crowd of 17,652 at Nationwide Arena. Cam Atkinson, who had a hat trick in Colorado on Thursday, scored two more goals for Columbus. Rick Nash opened the scoring with his 30th of the season, James Wisniewski and Vinny Prospal each added a goal and two assists and R.J. Umberger and Jack Johnson also scored.

Steve Mason made 35 saves for Columbus, which finished last in the overall standings despite ending with back-to-back wins. Rookie free agent Shane Hunwick, signed last week after the University of Michigan finished his season, played the last 2:33 in his NHL debut.

Milan Jurcina, Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner scored for the Islanders, who haven't made the playoffs since 2007.

Nash has asked for a trade, and management has said it will try to deal him this summer. But the fans held up signs of support for him and clearly said thanks to him for his nine years as the face of the team.

"This was pretty special. They stuck with us all year," he said. "It was a disappointing year for us as a team. And it's not where we want to be right now. But they stuck with us and they were great tonight."

The Blue Jackets opened the season by going 0-7-1, but closed it by winning five of six and going 16-14-1 in their last 31 games. Todd Richards, who took over a team that was 11-25-5 under the fired Scott Arniel, led Columbus to an 18-21-2 record.

"The fans were excited. The players had fun. I might have been the only guy in the building probably who didn't have that much fun," said Richards, whose status as interim coach is one of the numerous decisions facing management this summer. "It was just the way the game went. It was a loosey-goosey game. You get that in Game 82 and the position that both teams were in. Our goaltender was great. To me, he was the difference in the game."

The Islanders, who finished fourth from the bottom in the overall standings with 79 points, remain the only NHL team that hasn't won in regulation at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets are 6-0-2 against New York at home.  

Nash opened the scoring when he outmuscled defenseman Mark Streit to jam the puck under Al Montoya with 35.6 seconds left in the first period after the goaltender stopped Mark Letestu's shot.

It was Nash's 30th goal, marking the fifth season in a row and seventh time in his career he's hit that figure.

Atkinson scored twice in a four-goal second period that gave Columbus a 5-2 lead after 40 minutes.

"I feel like I've been playing pretty solid for the last 25 games I've been up here," Atkinson said. "Obviously I wasn't scoring or getting any assists or anything but I felt like I was playing pretty good defensively. It's nice to end the last stretch of games with some points."

Atkinson stepped in front of a pass by the Islanders' Josh Bailey and skated up the left wing, pivoting near the top of the left circle and then unleashing a hard shot that beat Montoya inside the far post at 4:15.

Jurcina, a former Jacket, cut the lead in half three minutes later with a hard point shot. But the Blue Jackets made it 3-1 on a nifty play which featured two quick passes. Derick Brassard dug the puck off the short boards and whisked a pass to Atkinson near the left edge of the trapezoid and he fed Umberger, who did waited before slipping the puck past Montoya.

The Islanders came right back to cut the deficit to a goal on Okposo's 24th, a quick wrister that caught the right post and went in off Mason's back.

The turning point came late in the second period when the Blue Jackets ended up with 1:11 of a 5-on-3 advantage after penalties to defensemen Andrew MacDonald and Steve Staios. Wisniewski scored during the two-man advantage and Atkinson fired home the rebound after Montoya stopped the defenseman's shot for a second power-play goal in a 43-second span.

"The first and second periods we had close to 18 chances and close to 40 shots and we couldn't score," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We were right there and then their two power-play goals killed us."

Columbus blew the game open with goals by Johnson and Prospal in the third before Grabner deflected Streit's shot past Mason for his 20th of the season.

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report.
scoring summary
1st Period
19:24
CBJ
Rick Nash (30) Backhand shot - ASST: Mark Letestu (14), Vinny Prospal (38)
1 - 0 CBJ
2nd Period
04:15
CBJ
Cam Atkinson (6) Snap shot - ASST: NONE
2 - 0 CBJ
07:32
NYI
Milan Jurcina (3) Slapshot - ASST: Frans Nielsen (30), Michael Grabner (12)
2 - 1 CBJ
11:12
CBJ
R.J. Umberger (20) Backhand shot - ASST: Cam Atkinson (7), Derick Brassard (26)
3 - 1 CBJ
13:11
NYI
Kyle Okposo (24) Snap shot - ASST: Milan Jurcina (8)
3 - 2 CBJ
18:48
CBJ
PPG - James Wisniewski (6) Slapshot - ASST: Vinny Prospal (39), Jack Johnson (26)
4 - 2 CBJ
19:31
CBJ
PPG - Cam Atkinson (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Derek Dorsett (8), James Wisniewski (20)
5 - 2 CBJ
3rd Period
04:41
CBJ
Jack Johnson (12) Wrist shot - ASST: James Wisniewski (21), Derick Brassard (27)
6 - 2 CBJ
11:03
CBJ
Vinny Prospal (16) Wrist shot - ASST: Nikita Nikitin (25)
7 - 2 CBJ
16:27
NYI
Michael Grabner (20) Slapshot - ASST: Mark Streit (40), Dylan Reese (6)
7 - 3 CBJ
penalty summary
1st Period
05:02
NYI
Matt Martin  Fighting (maj) against  Derek Dorsett
05:02
CBJ
Derek Dorsett  Fighting (maj) against  Matt Martin
05:02
CBJ
Derek Dorsett  Roughing against  Matt Martin
07:51
NYI
Marty Reasoner  Tripping against  James Wisniewski
2nd Period
09:46
NYI
Micheal Haley  Fighting (maj) against  Jared Boll
09:46
CBJ
Jared Boll  Fighting (maj) against  Micheal Haley
12:01
CBJ
Derek Dorsett  Fighting (maj) against  Matt Martin
12:01
NYI
Matt Martin  Fighting (maj) against  Derek Dorsett
15:32
CBJ
Darryl Boyce  Hooking against  Marty Reasoner
17:40
NYI
Andrew MacDonald  Holding against  R.J. Umberger
18:29
NYI
Steve Staios  Slashing against  Derick Brassard
3rd Period
NONE
goalie stats
Al Montoya
SA: 37TOI: 60:00
Saves: 30EV: 24 - 29
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 5
SV%: .811SH: 3 - 3
Steve Mason
SA: 38TOI: 57:18
Saves: 35EV: 31 - 34
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .921SH: 0 - 0
Shawn Hunwick
SA: 0TOI: 2:33
Saves: 0EV: 0 - 0
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 0
SV%: SH: 0 - 0