UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Evgeni Nabokov made 41 saves in his 58th NHL shutout, and Travis Hamonic scored a coast-to-coast, power-play goal in the second period as the New York Islanders dealt the Blue Jackets' playoff hopes a severe blow by beating Columbus 2-0 Sunday.
Nabokov got the best of Russian counterpart Sergei Bobrovsky in their third meeting this season and posted his third shutout in this campaign. It was just the Islanders' second regulation win ever over the Blue Jackets.
Columbus, which has dropped to fifth in the Metropolitan Division, has fallen out of an Eastern Conference playoff position with 11 games left. The Blue Jackets lost their second straight game and for the third time in four. This one was particularly costly as the Islanders are far out of post-season contention.
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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