Cal Clutterbuck’s shootout winner capped off a comeback win for the New York Islanders on Tuesday night, as they downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 at Nationwide Arena.
Clutterbuck snapped a wrister past Joonas Korpisalo’s glove in the fourth round of the shootout, giving the Islanders their fourth straight win over the Blue Jackets this season.
“He catches with a different hand, so I got him to try and move his glove and sneak it by him,” Clutterbuck said. “I’m just trying to get over the shock of being picked to go fourth. I didn’t have much time to think about it.”
The Islanders fell behind early, but took over the game as it wore on. After generating seven shots in the first period, the Islanders put 39 shots on the young goalie over the final two periods and overtime. Korpisalo – 44 saves – made a series of quality stops, preventing the Islanders from possibly repeating their eight-goal effort from Sunday.
“He was incredible,” Ryan Strome said. “Almost 50 shots. He robbed me a couple of times and John Tavares a couple of times. All in all a good win.”
Strome dangled the possibility of another big offensive night for the Islanders, scoring 56 seconds into the game. Strome jumped in behind John Tavares off a faceoff win in Columbus’ zone and snapped the puck past Korpisalo.
But the early goal was not an indicator of things to come, as the Islanders trailed 2-1 by the end of the first. Cam Atkinson and Brandon Dubinsky teamed up for a pair of goals just under four minutes apart. Atkinson was the first to a Dubinsky rebound, chopping the puck through traffic and past Jaroslav Halak (29 saves) at 7:45. He returned the favor, feeding Dubinsky on a two-on-one rush at 11:26.
“We didn’t play very well [in the first period],” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “Give them a lot of credit, they came out and played hard. In the second, third and overtime I thought we had some good chances.”
After generating seven shots on goal in the first period, the Islanders redoubled their efforts in the second period, outshooting the Blue Jackets 17-9. Korpisalo was the difference, turning aside all 17 shots, including a series of top-tier chances. Strome had several chances in tight early, while Korpisalo made a toe save on Josh Bailey on a quick wrister off the draw.
Halak was also good in the second, his best save coming off a Dubinsky breakaway that he caught just enough of to steer towards the post. Nikolay Kulemin also came up with a key defensive play to preserve the one-goal game, tying up Brandon Saad’s stick with Halak caught in a vulnerable position.
The Islanders broke through Korpisalo in the third, as Anders Lee notched the tying goal on the power play. Frans Nielsen set it up, drawing two penalty killers towards the wall, opening up space for Lee down low. Nielsen kept the puck out of trouble, dishing to Kyle Okposo at the point. Okposo found Lee on the goal line and the big-bodied winger pulled the puck to his backhand, sliding it between Korpisalo’s legs to tie it up.
From there, the Islanders put the Jackets pressured the Jackets, but to no avail, as the game went to a wild, wide-open overtime, with both teams trading odd-man rushes. Both goalies were at their best in OT, with Halak making game-saving two-on-one stops on the likes of Saad and others.
“These two points or any points right now we need them,” said Halak, who made 29 saves and three-of-four in the shootout. “We just need to keep climbing in the standings because if you look at the standings, it’s really tight and it’s going to be like this for the rest of the year.”
The Islanders head home to play the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night at Barclays Center. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.