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Blue Jackets look to rebound vs. depleted Islanders

by Brian Compton

ISLANDERS (31-35-11) at BLUE JACKETS (39-31-7)


Last 10: New York 6-2-2; Columbus 4-5-1

Season series: This is the fourth and final game between the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus won the first two games before the Islanders earned a 2-0 win against Columbus at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 23.

Big story: Columbus still has a chance to finish third in the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets enter Sunday two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for third place in the division, but are one point ahead of the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Team Scope:

Islanders: New York got a point Saturday in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, but it lost two more players to injury in the process. Michael Grabner, who had just returned from a concussion, sustained an upper-body injury. Rookie defenseman Calvin de Haan, one of the few bright spots for the Islanders this season, sustained an undisclosed injury.

With de Haan and Grabner injured, the Islanders recalled defenseman Scott Mayfield and forward Johan Sundstrom on an emergency basis from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. Mayfield, a second-round draft pick (No. 34) in 2011, could make his NHL debut Sunday.

"You don't want to see anybody get hurt," coach Jack Capuano said. "These are two really good players that log a lot of minutes, especially when you've got 8-10 rookies dressed for you. We'll just wait to see how the outcome is and what the doctor has to say and have more of an update then."

Blue Jackets: Columbus most likely spent a portion of Saturday dwelling on the incredibly tough loss they suffered the night before, when they came away with no points after Ben Smith scored with 3.9 seconds left in regulation in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationwide Arena. Columbus is 1-4-2 in its past seven home games.

"Sadly, we've had a few of these [kind of losses]," center Mark Letestu told The Columnbus Dispatch. "We'll bounce back. This is going to sting for a couple hours, but we have to get ready for the Islanders. There's a big picture at stake here, and this one loss isn't going to derail it."

Who's hot: Islanders forward Josh Bailey extended his point streak to four games Saturday. He has two goals and four assists over that span. … Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky has a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists), and defenseman James Wisniewski has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in his past six games.

Injury report: Along with Grabner and de Haan, New York will be without captain John Tavares (knee), right wing Kyle Okposo (lower body) and defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) and Brian Strait (hand). … Columbus is without defenseman Nikita Nikitin (lower body), as well as forwards Nathan Horton (lower body) and Nick Foligno (lower body).

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