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Preview: Islanders at Blue Jackets

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (27-18-6) VS. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS  (21-28-5)

7 P.M. NATIONWIDE ARENA, MSG+2, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM

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FOUR THINGS:

1. ISLES-JACKETS IV

The Islanders are in the Buckeye state for the third and final time this season to take on their Metropolitan Division rivals.  The Islanders won the two previous meetings at Nationwide Arena, along with their first meeting at Barclays Center by a combined score of 12-4. 

In the most recent meeting, Brock Nelson scored his first-career hat trick – part of a four-point night – as the Islanders won 5-2 on home ice. 

2. EIGHT WAS GREAT, BUT...

The Islanders are looking to build off their 8-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers, but are not letting the offensive outburst go to their heads. Johnny Boychuk – who scored on Sunday – said the Islanders are focused on keeping an even keel and recreating the same effort in Columbus.

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“It’s a good win, 8-1, but it’s still one win,” Boychuk said. “From here on out you have to keep looking at the next game because you can’t get too high or low, you just have to worry about the challenge ahead of you.”

3. KYLE OKPOSO'S 500TH GAME:

Kyle Okposo will suit up for his 500th career NHL game on Tuesday night, all with the New York Islanders. In 499 games, Okposo scored 346 points (132G, 214A) and is coming off of his second-career hat trick on Sunday afternoon against the Edmonton Oilers. Okposo is currently the Islanders’ leading scorer, with 41 points (15G, 26A) in 49 games this season. 

“That’s one that’s definitely pretty cool to hit,” Okposo said. “I’m not that big on milestones or anything. Those are for post-career, to look back on, but playing 500 games, that’s one that’s pretty special to me.”

4. THE JACKETS BLUES:

Columbus infamously started the season with eight-straight losses, losing seven straight before turning the reigns over to current Head Coach John Tortorella. The Blue Jackets are 21-21-5 under Tortorella, but still reside at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference. 

With just 47 points after 54 games, Columbus has a league worst in both losses (28) and goal differential (-32).

The Blue Jackets are also battling the injury bug, as their two top goaltenders – Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney are both on injured reserve. Bobrovsky has suffered two lower-body injuries this season and has played just one full game since Dec. 8. McElhinney sprained his ankle on Jan. 2. 

Anton Forsberg (23) and Joonas Korpisalo (21) currently man the Blue Jackets’ goal. 

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