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Preview: Islanders at Blue Jackets

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (3-1-1) VS. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (0-6-0)

7:00 P.M. NATIONWIDE ARENA, MSG+, CHANNEL FINDER, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM, BUY TICKETS


FIVE THINGS:

1. Winning Streak, Scoring Streak: The Islanders have won three straight games, beating the Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks at home last week. All three teams were previously unbeaten before playing the Islanders. John Tavares had at least two points in each contest and has eight points (3G, 5A) in five games this season. Kyle Okposo, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Ryan Strome all have points in three straight games. 

“We know we’re a good team when we play our game and play the way we know how,” Okposo said. “We just have to keep it going.”

Click here for the best pictures from last week. 


2. Halak, Hickey are Back:
Jaroslav Halak is healthy and made his season debut Saturday, stopping 22-of-25 shots for the win. Thomas Hickey also made his season debut Saturday skating 15:25, recording one hit and two blocked shots.

3. Slow Starts, Strong Finishes: The Islanders have started slow in their last two games, falling behind early before rallying for wins. The Islanders scored six goals in the final 40 minutes against San Jose, while scoring four unanswered goals for a comeback win over Nashville. While the Islanders say resiliency and relentlessness are two good qualities for a hockey team, they acknowledge that they’d like to see that jump earlier. 

“For a few games here, the first 10 minutes we haven’t played our style or our brand of hockey to our identity, but after we have,” Jack Capuano said. “We’ve been resilient; we’ve been a team that continues to work hard. When we do the right things, good things happen.” 

4. Divisional Game: After five straight games against Western Conference the Islanders play their first game in the Eastern Conference and against a Metropolitan Division rival. The Islanders went 21-6-3 against Metro Division opponents last season, a contributing factor to the team’s 101-point season and second playoff appearance in three years. The Blue Jackets and Islanders like to play each other physical, as both teams were top-five in hits last season and early this season. 

5. Blue Jackets: The Columbus Blue Jackets are searching for their first point and win of the season. The Blue Jackets finished 2014-15 with 12 wins in their final 13 games, but have stumbled out of the game, going 0-6-0. Led by Ryan Johansen (1G, 5A), Nick Foligno (1G, 3A) and former Vezina-Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, the talent is there for the Jackets and the Islanders can expect a hungry opponent Tuesday. 

"You just have to look at their lineup, see the names they have and then you don’t take them lightly," Nielsen said. "They are a good team. Even though they don’t have a win, they are one of those teams we feel we’re fighting for a playoff spot."  
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