SATURDAY, 7 PM | NATIONWIDE ARENA
WATCH: Another reply - this one of a pretty passing play by Johansen, Dubinsky and Atkinson that resulted in the Jackets' fourth goal! Click HERE.
WATCH: RJ Umbeger with a timely...time...for his third goal of the season! Catch the replay by clicking HERE!
SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: Much better period - and a positive second period, nonetheless - for the Jackets and they head into the intermission even at 2-2 with the Islanders. The Blue Jackets put 14 shots on goal in the second period and got one past Nabokov, a beautiful breakway goal by Johansen that was alertly set up by Dubinsky (his second point of the game). But the Jackets couldn't hang on that lead, and after dominating the first minute-plus of a 4-on-4, gave up the 2-2 tally to Thomas Hickey that appeared to deflect off Johansen's stick before sailing past Bobrovsky. I thought the Jackets were better on the forecheck in the second period and did a lot of things well, but they'll need even more in the third period to snap out of this five-game skid.
WATCH: Johansen's fifth goal of the season was a beauty - watch it NOW!
JOEY WITH A BEAUTY: How about that goal by Johansen to give the Jackets a 2-1 lead? Listen to it over and over by clicking HERE!
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: That's tough one to give up at the end of the first period if you're the Jackets, but they have to pick up their game regardless in the second period. The Islanders had nine of the 11 shots in the first period, most of those coming after Brandon Dubinsky opened the scoring with a weird power play goal at the 6:25 mark. The puck rang off the post, went off Nabokov and trickled into the net, but the Blue Jackets will take them any way they can get them. New York answered later in the period off a turnover in the offensive zone by Columbus; Frans Nielsen started a 3-on-2 and fired a wrister through traffic that slipped through Bobrovsky and just made its way over the goal line. The intensity has pick up here in the second period - a problem for the Jackets so far this season.
VIDEO EVIDENCE: Here's the Dubinsky power play goal...click HERE!
DUBINSKY PPG: Brandon Dubinsky gives the Jackets a 1-0 lead at 6:25 of the first -- hear the call by clicking HERE.
UPDATE (6:35 PM): Based on the pre-game warmup, it looks like the Blue Jackets are going with the lines and pairs from today's morning skate. Provided that's the case, here are the combos...
UPDATE (1:45 PM): Jody Shelley and Bob McElligott get together for another edition of the "Rink Report," and break down tonight's key storylines as the Jackets take on the Islanders.
#CBJSocial Contest: Here's your chance to join us for tonight's game and tweet your little hearts out in the Social Station. Answer the following trivia question correctly, tweet us at @BlueJacketsNHL using #CBJSocial to enter...
Q: James Wisniewski is a former Islander, but has made a couple of other stops in his NHL career. Where was Wiz's next stop after he left Long Island?
UPDATE (12:10 PM): We've summarized his media session below, but if you'd like to watch Todd Richards' pre-game comments, you can do so by clicking HERE.
UPDATE (12:00 PM): After missing practice yesterday with "soreness," Ryan Murray is in the lineup tonight vs. the Islanders. Here's what he had to say about a big game for the Jackets...
UPDATE (11:50 AM): Islanders coach Jack Capuano just met with the media and provided some updates on his club...
- Evgeni Nabokov will start in goal for the Islanders tonight. So, it's the same goaltending matchup we saw back on Oct. 5 at the Nassau Coliseum: Bobrovsky vs. Nabokov. It was a good one, too.
- Cal Clutterbuck, who missed the Islanders' last game in Raleigh, is not going to play tonight in Columbus.
- Longtime Islanders defenseman (and a former Blue Jacket, albeit briefly) Radek Martinek is out tonight for the Islanders, Capuano said. Tough guy Eric Boulton and defenseman Aaron Ness will play.
UPDATE (11:35 AM): Cam Atkinson, who will skate on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Johansen tonight, spoke this morning about getting back on track. Here's the video.
UPDATE (11:05 AM): Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards is meeting with the media following today's morning skate. Here's a summary of his comments...
- Richards said tonight's game is a "big test." He really liked the Blue Jackets' approach and execution in practice on Friday and hopes it translates to a better performance tonight against the Islanders: "It's about getting back to what we do."
- The Islanders are a rush team that wants to play on the attack. "We have to make sure we're managing the puck and limiting our mistakes," Richards said. He said the Jackets were not structurally sound against the Rangers and made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes, and when playing north-south, attacking teams, puck management becomes an even bigger priority.
- The most glaring concern for the Jackets during this five-game skid? "Second periods," Richards said. "For whatever reason, what we've done in the first period, we seem to forget. It seems like breakdown after breakdown."
- Lineup changes: Dalton Prout gets back into the lineup tonight against the Islanders and David Savard will be healthy scratch. RJ Umberger and Murray are both back in tonight and Nick Foligno (personal) will not play.
UPDATE (10:50 AM): Ryan Murray said he's in the lineup tonight against the Islanders.
UPDATE (10:15 AM): Here are the Blue Jackets' lines from their morning skate today...
Defense pairs: Tyutin-Johnson, Murray-Wisniewski, third pair TBD
UPDATE (10:05 AM): Along with Umberger, defenseman Ryan Murray (upper body) is taking part in the morning skate and it looks as if he'll play tonight.
UPDATE (10:00 AM): The Blue Jackets are on the ice for their morning skate at Nationwide Arena. Good news is that RJ Umberger is on the ice with his teammates today. Todd Richards said he would be a game-time decision tonight against the Islanders. Sergei Bobrovsky starts in goal for the Jackets after a stellar 30-save outing on Thursday.
#CBJSocial Contests - stay tuned throughout the day on Saturday for YOUR chance to join us in the Social Station as the Jackets take on the Islanders!
ICYMI: Todd Richards met with the media after Friday's practice and provided several updates, including his thoughts on team confidence, upping the goal-scoring and more. Watch his comments...HERE.
The Blue Jackets are slated to hit the ice at 10AM today for their morning skate at Nationwide Arena. Around 11:30AM, the Islanders are scheduled for their skate on the same sheet of ice. You'll want to stay tuned to Game Day Central as we bring you the latest lineup news, starting goalie updates, comments from the players and coaches, and photos from game day. This is your one-stop shop for everything Blue Jackets.
Blue Jackets 5 | ISLANDERS 2
After practice on Friday at Nationwide Arena, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards hinted at more potential lineup changes for Saturday's game against the New York Islanders. RJ Umberger, who was a game-time decision on Thursday with a stiff neck, may fall into that same boat on Saturday as he did not practice with the team on Friday. Nick Foligno is also not expected to play due to personal reasons, and on the back end, Ryan Murray (upper body) is questionable to play against the Islanders.
Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 30 saves was named one of the game's three stars on Thursday, is expected to make the start in goal for the Blue Jackets.
A longer-than-usual post-game meeting between players and coaches on Thursday night was followed by an intense, detail-oriented practice on Friday in preparation for another Metropolitan Division matchup. What will Richards see from his group on Saturday night? He's hoping for a re-energized, re-focused group that is ready to put its "reactive" nature in the rear view mirror; specifically, Richards said the Blue Jackets have not been proactive in games and instead have let several occurrences in games affect their play.
When they were at their best last season and playing well earlier this season, the Blue Jackets tended to throw the first punch and play with a lead. Scoring first is obviously a key in any sport - and it's no different in the NHL - but the Blue Jackets have struggled not only to score first, but to score in general. They have scored just three goals in their last three games at Nationwide Arena and are looking to break out of an offensive spell on Saturday night; it's the final game of a four-game home stand that they had hoped to use their advantage after a disappointing loss to the Penguins last Friday at CONSOL Energy Center.
Instead, things have gone the other way for the Blue Jackets and the locker room was not a happy place on Thursday night. Their three most recent losses have come at the hands of backup goaltenders (Jeff Zatkoff, Robin Lehner and Cam Talbot) and the offense hasn't provided much support to its own, despite a stellar performance on Thursday by Bobrovsky and a similar effort by Curtis McElhinney last weekend against Pittsburgh.
Dubinsky, who made pointed and passionate comments after the Jackets' loss to the Rangers, said it's going to take a "hard look in the mirror" from a lot of players on the team to collectively snap out of their funk. It's still early enough to be classified as, well, early...but the Blue Jackets are at risk of really falling off the pace before the Thanksgiving holiday benchmark.
Their opponent tonight has dropped back-to-back games on the road and is in a similar offensive spell; the Islanders were blanked 1-0 by Justin Peters and the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night, and head coach Jack Capuano was not happy with his club's ability (or lack thereof) to finish the chances they created.
And finally, a weird but true stat: the Islanders have not scored a power play goal (0-for-18) since they traded for Thomas Vanek.
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TUESDAY, 7 P.M.