The Blue Jackets ran their winning streak to five and point streak to eight with a 3-2 victory vs. the New York Islanders at NYCB Live/Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Monday night.
Game in a Paragraph
It was a fantastic hockey game on Long Island as the teams traded punches throughout the evening. The Islanders led 1-0 after a period before Columbus fought back to tie the game at 2 after 40 minutes. Vladislav Gavrikov then scored with 3:29 left to give the Blue Jackets the winning goal.
Video: Gavrikov extends Columbus win streak with late goal
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "That's a hard team to play against. It's a big-bodied team. It's not like they go running around (at you), but they rub you out and they force you to play on the walls. They defend hard. There's a reason their record is what it is. It's a hard team to play against. I thought we stood right in there with them tonight."
- Nathan Gerbe scored his first NHL goal since March 10, 2016, while playing in his first game at the highest level since February, 2018. He also led the Blue Jackets with five shots on goal.
- Kevin Stenlund netted his second career goal and second goal in the past week.
- Zach Werenski had an assist to give him four points (2-2-4) in the last three games. He also has points in 11 of his past 14 games.
- Joonas Korpisalo finished with 35 saves and was excellent yet again.
Columbus had some excellent chances in the first period including good looks from good spots by Gerbe, Scott Harrington and Zach Werenski, but they couldn't beat goalie Thomas Greiss. And though the Jackets didn't allow a shot on goal in the last nine minutes of the first, they trailed 1-0 thanks to a goal 6:17 in by Anders Lee. Mathew Barzal pulled a puck out of a battle along the right-wing boards, skated behind the net patiently and found Lee at the bottom of the left circle for a one-timer past Joonas Korpisalo.
It was 1-0 after a period, but the second was wild, with the teams each putting 17 shots on goal, while Columbus drew iron four times -- twice through Pierre-Luc Dubois -- and the Islanders hit two posts.
Columbus tied the game at 1 on the power play 6:18 into the frame, as Zach Werenski got the puck to Stenlund at the top of the right circle, and his low drive beat Greiss through the legs with Boone Jenner screening in front.
The Blue Jackets almost scored shortly thereafter on a tremendous shift by Gustav Nyquist, Jenner and Stenlund, with Nyquist hitting the crossbar and Greiss making one save while on his back and facing his own net.
But soon enough, it was a 2-1 Columbus lead as Gerbe got on the board at 9:34. He helped force a turnover behind the net, gathered the puck off the skate of Alexander Wennberg and quickly roofed a backhander past Greiss' blocker.
The Islanders drew even, then, at 13:40 of the second. After a failed clearing attempt, Johnny Boychuk's hard slapper from the top of the zone came off the boards onto the stick of Barzal, who quickly gathered it and beat Korpisalo to the far post for a stuff into the net.
The third period started chippy with a number of scrums as well as more end-to-end action. Korpisalo had to make an excellent stop on Lee with Dubois in the box, keeping it a 2-2 game as the third neared its midway point.
That proved huge as Gavrikov scored with 3:29 left to give Columbus the 3-2 lead. A long shift in the offensive zone ended with a just reward as Alexandre Texier controlled a puck in front, spun and fired, then Gavrikov cleaned up the rebound in the crease for his fourth goal with the Blue Jackets.
It stood as the winner as the Islanders pulled the goalie in the final two minutes, but Korpisalo finished off a strong performance with a couple of saves down the stretch.
1. Let's start with this: What a fantastic hockey game that was. It was intense, physical and just plain fun, and there were more scoring chances than you would expect for two teams that are generally among the best defensive teams in the league. "I felt the intensity level was there today," Korpisalo said postgame, while Tortorella agreed it was a fun one to be a part of because of just how well it was played and how the two teams each had a bit of snarl to their game. "I like this," he said postgame. "I do." His favorite part was a scrum in the third period that started with Barzal and Nyquist, two offensive players, getting mixed up with one another. "I laughed when everything was going on by our bench there," Tortorella said. "I look at all the people there, and I said, 'There's not many of those guys that really have been in these types of situations in a scrum like that.' It's Barzal and Nyquist, but everybody got involved."
2. It felt like it could be another long night on the island when New York scored in the opening minutes. The past two Columbus trips to Long Island ended with 2-0 losses after the Islanders got early goals and put the clamps down on the game, but this time around, the Blue Jackets battled their way back in. The score sheet was a fun one to look at, with Stenlund, Gerbe and Gavrikov -- two players who have spent the majority of the year in Cleveland and a defenseman not known for his offensive prowess -- getting on the board. "Would you think as you're looking at the box score for us winning a game, Gavrikov, Stenlund and Gerbe scoring our three goals?" Tortorella said. "But that's the way it's been for us."
3. The streaks continue and Columbus has played its way back into a situation where the postseason is back on the table. There's still ground to make up, but at 17-14-6, the Blue Jackets have stopped taking on water, as Tortorella put it before the run of points in eight straight. It almost seems as though the injuries have been the thing to help this team come together, as the call-ups have added energy and the shorthanded lineup has resulted in the team playing a simpler but more effective game. To win eight straight and finish strong going into the break is huge, the team agreed. "We were talking about this before the game, just ending on a win," Korpisalo said. "It was going to be a long three days if we don't win, and I'm glad we won."
Tortorella moved into a tie for 13th place all-time on the NHL games coached list with 1,294, pulling him even with Jacques Martin. … Before Stenlund's goal, Columbus had gone eight full periods without scoring on Long Island. … Columbus improved to 6-0-0 on Mondays. … Dubois got an assist to run his point streak to four games (2-4-6), while Texier has the same line in the past six games. .. Point streaks for Nyquist (five games), Jenner (four games) and Seth Jones (three games) came to a close. ... The Blue Jackets started the season 0-10-5 when giving up the first goal but have now won three straight when falling in a 1-0 hole.
Columbus lost one player but added another back to the lineup. With Oliver Bjorkstrand out because of injury, Gerbe went in at forward for his first game since Feb. 24, 2018, while David Savard returned to the blue line after missing two games because of illness. Gabriel Carlsson became a healthy scratch, joining the injured Sonny Milano and Cam Atkinson on the sidelines.
The Blue Jackets have three days off for the Christmas break before returning to action on the road at Washington on Friday.