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Jackets fall behind early in loss to Islanders

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

It was a rough start for the Blue Jackets tonight in Brooklyn, but late in the second period, David Savard scored a goal that brought them back to all square.

But from then on, things started to spiral in the wrong direction.

Columbus was out-shot 18-6 in the first period and barely had the puck, and after a stronger second period, they found a way to go into the third period facing a deficit. The New York Islanders, who had scored one total goal in their last two games coming in, temporarily relieved their offensive woes with a 5-2 win at Barclays Center, handing the Blue Jackets their fourth loss in a row.

“We lost momentum immediately with penalties,” coach John Tortorella said. “We knew they were going to come hard. We just didn’t defend well through the neutral zone. They went through us. I thought we answered really well in the second period and still end up coming to the third down a goal. We need to be tied going to the third, but we’re not.

“We’re in it right up to our eyeballs right now, as far as where we are as a team. We have to stay together and keep trying to get better.”

Now it’s a quick turnaround for the Blue Jackets, who fly out of New York City tonight and play in Toronto tomorrow night. They’ll face a Maple Leafs team playing its first game since a 7-0 drubbing in San Jose over the weekend.

And they knew they were walking into a hornet’s nest tonight with the Islanders struggling and under pressure to get back to their uptempo, scoring ways. Very early in the game, it was obvious what the Islanders’ objective was: attack with speed, get pucks to the net and crowd goaltender Anton Forsberg, who made 16 first-period saves.

Brock Nelson’s first career hat trick paced the Islanders, and he scored the 2-1 goal, the 3-2 goal (which stood as the game-winner) and capped it with the insurance empty-net tally at 19:49 of the third.

The Blue Jackets got goals from Savard and William Karlsson, the latter’s tally coming midway through the first period to answer Ryan Strome’s opening goal. Savard’s wobbling knucklepuck tied the game 2-2 with 6:11 left in the second period, but Nelson scored on a 2-on-1 minutes later to restore the Islanders’ lead.

But from the first period on, this was not a performance that sat well with Brandon Dubinsky.

“It’s not good enough. It’s not acceptable. I’m so (ticked) off right now. I don’t have many words for it,” Dubinsky said. “If we were working and playing the right way, then we can deal with it. We should have come prepared and ready to go from the get-go, with energy, with a little determination."

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