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Preview: Islanders vs. Blue Jackets

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (41-25-9) VS. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS  (30-38-8)

7 P.M. BARCLAYS CENTER, MSG+, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM, BUY TICKETS

FOUR THINGS:

1. ISLES-BLUE JACKETS V:

The New York Islanders are going for the season sweep of the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. The Islanders have won the first four meetings – the most single-season wins against Columbus in one year. The Islanders have held the Blue Jackets to six goals over the four games. Most recently, Cal Clutterbuck scored the shootout winner in a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets on Feb. 9. 

2. WHAT IT MEANS:

With seven games to play in the regular season, the Islanders are almost at the point of clinching a playoff berth. The Islanders (91 points) can clinch Saturday if they win their next two games and Detroit goes 0-1-1 or if the Islanders go 1-0-1 and Detroit loses twice in regulation.

NHL STANDINGS

Either way, the Islanders are in control of their own destiny and are not relying on other teams to lose games. 

“In the position we’re in, if we take care of business things will work out for us,” John Tavares said. “There’s not too much for us to worry about other than ourselves and the way we have to play.” 

3. SONNY MILANO TO DEBUT:



Massapequa, NY, native Sonny Milano will make his NHL debut on Thursday night against the Islanders. An NHL debut for any player is special, but Milano’s Long Island roots should make it an even more unforgettable night for the Blue Jackets’ 2014 first-rounder. No doubt the South Shore will be well represented at Barclays Center. 

“It’s unbelievable,” Milano told the Blue Jackets’ official site. “It was my first call-up ever and my first game tomorrow playing (the Islanders), it’s where I’m from so it’s extra special and a lot of family and friends will be there...so it’s pretty exciting, for sure.”

Milano has 12 goals and 15 assists in 48 games for the Lake Erie Monsters – Columbus’ AHL affiliate – this season. 

4. POWER PLAY BREAKS THROUGH:

The Islanders power play scored for the first time in six games on Tuesday after enduring an 0-12 stretch over that span. As John Tavares noted at practice on Monday, the Islanders haven’t had many power-play opportunities to work with over the past six games.

“I think we’ve been shooting the puck, but we went through a stretch where we weren’t getting many opportunities and sometimes it’s hard to get into a rhythm, the feel of the power play,” Tavares said. “We just have to stick to who we are and keep trusting one another and understanding what’s brought us success in the past.” 

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