Skip to Main Content
The Official Site of the Columbus Blue Jackets

PREVIEW: Blue Jackets at Islanders

Jackets visit Nassau Coliseum and the NY Islanders for first time this season

by Craig Merz @BlueJacketsNHL /

For Cam Atkinson, the memories of playing against the New York Islanders in their last regular season game at the Nassau Coliseum are sweet.

"I had the game-winning goal in the shootout," he said. "That's what I tell everyone because that's kind of cool that I had the last regular-season goal there."

Nick Foligno has a painful recollection of the Blue Jackets' season finale on April 11, 2015.

"I actually broke my foot in that game, last game of the year, swear to God," the Blue Jackets captain said. "So pissed. I blocked a shot in in overtime, 'What am I doing?'"

Brandon Dubinsky has a similar story.

Video: Torts and Cam comment on historic Nassau Coliseum

ENTER TO WIN: Tickets to see the Blue Jackets play the Flames on Tuesday, December 4

"I'll never forget that game because I got all my teeth knocked out," he said of being hit in the mouth by the inadvertent stick of teammate Jack Johnson. "I had all six of my bottom teeth knocked out, so, yeah, it will be enjoyable going back there."

Yes, the Blue Jackets on Saturday are headed back to Uniondale, N.Y., and the former, soon-to-be current, temporary home of the Islanders for the first regular-season game at the renovated and renamed NYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Just call it the Coliseum, which hosts 21 Islanders' games this season with the remainder of the home games at Barclays Center in Brooklyn where the Islanders have played since the 2015-16 season. The Blue Jackets also play at the Coliseum on March11.

"I'm anxious to see the renovations," said Blue Jackets and former New York Rangers coach John Tortorella. "I hope they put in the coaches' room instead of a 40-watt bulb, they put in maybe a 75-watt bulb because you couldn't see."

Video: Torts on players playing within the team structure

The Coliseum is a stop-gap until the expected opening for the 2021-22 season of a new arena in the Belmont Park area of Long Island.

Until then, there are rumors that the Islanders will play all their home games at the Coliseum beginning next season instead of splitting games with Barclays, which was not built for hockey and has bad sightlines and poor ice. The Islanders are last in the NHL with an average attendance of 10,477 through 11 home games.

"It just didn't feel like a hockey rink," Foligno said. "It's just sad that team, with the history of that team, they couldn't really have a home. It was disappointing at the Barclays."

It will be a different atmosphere for sure at the Coliseum, which in its new form has a capacity of 13,900, about 2,200 less than before.

"They're going to be hyped up, which is great, it makes it fun," Foligno said.

The Blue Jackets have won two straight and are 8-2-1 in the past 11 games, so they hope to once again spoil the party on the Island.

The energy will be much like it was the last time the Blue Jackets played in the Coliseum. The Blue Jackets did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Islanders were vying for home ice for the Eastern Conference First Round vs. the Washington Capitals.

The Blue Jackets, backed by Curtis McElhinney's 48 saves, won 5-4 in a shootout to end the season on a 12-0-1 streak.

"We wanted to go in there and play a good game to feel good about ourselves going into the offseason," Foligno said. "It ended up being a pretty emotional game. There were some fights and things going on in that game."

The Islanders led 3-1 in the third period, but Dubinsky and Alexander Wennberg scored to tie it. John Tavares scored for the Islanders before Scott Hartnell tied it 4-4 with 1:35 left in regulation.

Wennberg and Atkinson had the shootout goals.

"I remember if they won they had home-ice advantage," Atkinson said. "I had an opportunity to win it. I took away their home-ice advantage. I'm not sure if they're still mad at me."

It proved to be crucial. The Capitals used home ice to defeat the Islanders in seven games. The last meaningful game in the Coliseum until Saturday was Game 6 on April 25, 2015, although there have been some preseason games there since.

"It's a fun building," said Dubinsky, who played in the Coliseum many times for the Rangers. "For whatever reason the Barclays doesn't do it for me so I'm excited to go back to the Coliseum. It's where they belong.

"Trust me. I enjoy going to New York City and going to Brooklyn but when it comes time to play, going to the Barclays wasn't the same as going to the Coliseum."

Tortorella has good remembrances of the Coliseum despite being the object of scorn from Islanders fans for many years. There's something about four Stanley Cup banners hanging from the rafters of a building opened in February 1972.

"When you coach with the Rangers and you go to the Coliseum it's like nothing else. No other team can experience that," he said. "Listen, it's a fantastic building. There's a lot of history there and big players played there. You have to experience a Rangers-Islanders game to understand that building."

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Artemi Panarin -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Cam Atkinson

Nick Foligno -- Boone Jenner -- Josh Anderson

Brandon Dubinsky -- Alexander Wennberg -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Lukas Sedlak -- Riley Nash -- Markus Hannikainen

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Ryan Murray -- Markus Nutivaara

David Savard -- Scott Harrington

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: D Dean Kukan, F Anthony Duclair

Injured: None

Status report

The only change may be Duclair for Bjorkstrand, who played in the 4-2 win vs. the Minnesota Wild on Thursday after being a healthy scratch for four straight games.

View More