The Blue Jackets scored the first goal, played a solid opening period, and appeared to be on their way tonight.
After that, well, it gradually went downhill.
Once again, they trudged through the second period and came out on the wrong end of it, trailing 2-1 after 40 minutes with very little in the way of positives to take from the period. They were outplayed and spent most of their time defending, and the dam broke for the Islanders early in the third period.
Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after Jason Chimera wired a shot from distance to make it 4-1, the second of back-to-back goals he would probably like to have back. Joonas Korpisalo mopped it up the rest of the way as the Blue Jackets left Brooklyn with another loss at Barclays Center, a building that hasn't been kind to them since the Islanders began calling it home.
They have one game remaining before the NHL's All-Star break and it comes Thursday in Nashville against a Predators team playing with a ton of confidence. Not much needs to be said for the locals in this case: the Blue Jackets' defensive game has to tighten up, and it needs to happen quickly.
"We have to play with more desperation as a group," Brandon Dubinsky said. "We've got to play better, step up, and pick up our game. That's important right now."
Here's what we learned:
SLOW IN THE SECOND: As stated above, the first period was fine. The Blue Jackets had a forecheck going, they were forcing the Islanders into mistakes and they appeared to have found their game for stretches. They came unglued in the second period and got away from the hard work they brought in the first; a sleepy second gave the Islanders plenty of chances and they cashed in twice, taking a lead into the third period before they chased Bobrovsky. Speaking of chasing, the Blue Jackets did plenty of that in a middle frame where they barely had the puck. The Islanders were determined to shoot the puck, get to the net and make sure the Blue Jackets had to travel the length of the rink to create offense.
Video: CBJ@NYI: Atkinson shows off quick release in the slot
"We didn't get to their level. They turned it up," captain Nick Foligno said. "The second period was stale for us, and that's disappointing. There's no reason, with the position we're in, that we should be playing (better) with 10 minutes to go. We haven't done anything yet this year. The league gets harder. The games get harder. We need to be a better team all the way through in order to win."
LEADING THE WAY: Foligno's 17th goal in the first period was a good early vital sign. The Blue Jackets moved the puck around in the offensive zone and, after a terrific play by Seth Jones to hold off three Islanders and maintain possession of the puck - allowing the entire team to get a line change in the process - Ryan Murray hopped on the ice and got the puck toward the net. Alexander Wennberg tipped the shot on the way through, and Foligno tucked it over the line behind Thomas Greiss.
Video: CBJ@NYI: Murray's blast goes in off Foligno in front
Foligno's goal gives him 38 points, surpassing his points total (37) from all of last season, and he did it this year on Jan. 24. Cam Atkinson scored in the third period for Columbus, his 24th of the season, pulling him into a tie for second place with Jeff Carter in the NHL's goal scoring race.