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Preview: Blue Jackets at Islanders

Columbus looking for first in Metropolitan; New York chasing Eastern wild card

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

BLUE JACKETS (45-18-6) at ISLANDERS (33-26-11)

1 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-O, NHLN, NHL.TV

 

Blue Jackets team scope

The Columbus Blue Jackets are one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division and two points behind the Washington Capitals for first place with a game in hand on each. Columbus has won two straight, including 2-1 against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. "It will be similar to [Thursday] night, for sure," Matt Calvert told the Blue Jackets website after practice Friday. "Florida was trying to claw themselves back into a [Stanley Cup Playoff] spot and they are right there with the [New York] Islanders. We have to expect their best effort. We've been in that position chasing and it's kind of do or die at this point of the season." Columbus is 0-3-0 at Barclays Center, including a 4-2 loss on Jan. 24. "We just want to take care of our game and go in the right direction here," captain Nick Foligno said. "We know they come out hard in their building so we just have to be ready for that." Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who is 7-0-1 with a 1.24 goals-against average and a .959 save percentage in his past eight starts, likely will start. Columbus plays at the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.

 

Islanders team scope

New York has lost three of its past four games to fall one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Toronto also has a game in hand. The Islanders play five straight games against team that hold a playoff spot. Center Casey Cizikas, who has missed 11 games with an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup. "Just an energy guy, reliable," coach Doug Weight said. "He had an under-the-rader [29] points last season, can pay on the power play. Missed a lot of time this year but has 23 points." Cizikas last played Feb. 21. "I feel good right now, physically and mentally," Cizikas told the Islanders website after practice Friday. "I feel personally ready to go and it's just up to the coaches now. I've had a good couple of days of practice, a couple of bag skates, and now I'm just itching to get back." 

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg -- Nick Foligno

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Scott Hartnell -- Sam Gagner -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Matt Calvert -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Kyle Quincey -- Scott Harrington

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Lauri Korpikoski, Markus Nutivaara, Lukas Sedlak

Injured: Ryan Murray (hand)

 

Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey

Nikolay Kulemin -- Brock Nelson -- Joshua Ho-Sang

Andrew Ladd -- Anthony Beauvillier -- Jason Chimera

Ryan Strome -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Adam Pelech

Calvin de Haan -- Travis Hamonic

Scott Mayfield -- Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Greiss

Jean-Francois Berube

Scratched: Thomas Hickey, Alan Quine, Stephen Gionta

Injured: Shane Prince (upper body), Johnny Boychuk (lower body) 

 

Status report

Tortorella wouldn't confirm his starting goalie but did say Harington would be in on defense replacing Nutivaara. With Cizikas playing, Strome will shift to wing, making Gionta a healthy scratch.Weight also said Mayfield will be in for Hickey and Beauvillier will be in for Quine.

 

Who's hot

Atkinson has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past seven games. Jones has four assists in his past five games. Gagner has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past seven games. ... Ho-Sang has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past four games. Tavares has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past seven games. Leddy has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past four games.

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