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Blue Jackets win, keep pace in Metropolitan race

Can Atkinson scores to defeat Islanders in overtime

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Cam Atkinson scored 1:19 into overtime to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Saturday.

The Blue Jackets (46-18-6) won their third straight game and are two points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the NHL and Metropolitan Division. The Capitals defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3.

"You want to be playing strong especially during this time of year," Atkinson said. "These points are obviously crucial. It's crunch time, really. There's almost 10 games left -- 12 games for us -- but everyone is fighting and trying to gain momentum ... and I think for the most part that is what we have been doing."

 

WATCH: All Blue Jackets at Islanders highlights

 

Atkinson scored his 33rd goal of the season and seventh game-winner after a pass from Brandon Dubinsky from behind the net.

"I probably could have shot that at first as well," Atkinson said. "Dubinsky chose the harder route to go behind the net and find me to make a great play. [The Islanders] are playing for their lives, so obviously we expected them to come out hard."

The Islanders (33-26-12) lost for the fourth time in five games (1-3-1) and trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by one point for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Maple Leafs lost 2-1 in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks.

"It stings because it's important as it is and we are really starting to get down to the wire here," said New York captain John Tavares, who tied the game 2-2 at 8:48 of the third period. "Obviously we haven't been as consistent as we'd like, but a point is a point."

Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 20 saves for his first win in three starts since a 7-0 victory against the Islanders in Columbus on Feb. 25.

"I'm very happy in how we played and found a way to win a close-checking, one-goal game," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said.

The Islanders took a 1-0 lead on a goal by defenseman Travis Hamonic at 14:18 of the first period. It was his third goal of the season, first in 35 games.

"You want to help out, you are trying to play your best," Hamonic said. "I'm just trying to get back in the groove of things. I thought tonight was nice to see that one go in and get some confidence back."

Oliver Bjorkstrand tied the game at 1-1 at 1:00 of the second period with his sixth goal of the season. After a turnover by New York defenseman Dennis Seidenberg at the blue line, Bjorkstrand skated into the zone and beat Thomas Greiss from the right circle with a wrist shot.

Video: CBJ@NYI: Bjorkstrand picks top corner with wrister

Josh Anderson scored at 15:48 of the second period to give Columbus a 2-1 lead with his 16th goal of the season.

"I think all four lines played good tonight," Anderson said. "I think Korpisalo had a great game too. He made a lot of key saves in that game."

Greiss made 35 saves.

"Today we just weren't good," Islanders coach Doug Weight said. [Greiss] kept us in it. We got a couple breaks and I believe the shots were 29-12 after two, so we didn't deserve to be in [the] game. That's what I said between periods. 'It's 2-1. You guys should thank your lucky stars that we're in a playoff race and it's 2-1 and we can win a game with one good period.'"

Video: CBJ@NYI: Tavares wrists one in through traffic

 
Goal of the game

Dubinsky passed the puck to Atkinson, who entered the Islanders zone and passed it to Anderson, who found Dubinsky on the side of the net. Instead of shooting, Dubinsky stickhandled behind the net for a few seconds before passing to Atkinson in front for the game-winner.

Video: CBJ@NYI: Atkinson buries OT game-winner at doorstep

 

Save of the game

With the Islanders leading 1-0 at 3:23 of the first period, Greiss reached across the net to stop Atkinson's point-blank shot with his right pad.

Video: CBJ@NYI: Greiss lunges to rob Atkinson with right pad

 

Unsung performance of the game

At 11:31 of the third period, Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield raced back and broke up Nick Foligno's breakaway chance to keep game tied 2-2.

 

Highlight of the game

Chimera skated around the Blue Jackets net before passing to Hamonic outside the slot for Hamonic's first goal since Oct. 30.

Video: CBJ@NYI: Hamonic one-times Chimera's feed past Greiss

 

They said it

"You should have heard me when he was stickhandling behind the net. I was like, 'What the ... great play!' That's why players play and coaches coach." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella on Cam Atkinson's goal

 

"We have our two big rivals [New York Rangers on Wednesday, Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday] coming up. We have a couple of days coming up and have to be ready." -- Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic

 

Need to know

Islanders center Casey Cizikas, who missed 11 games with an upper-body injury, returned to the lineup and played 16:41. ... The Blue Jackets got their first win at Barclays Center (1-3-0).

 

What's next

Blue Jackets: At the New Jersey Devils on Sunday (1 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Islanders: At the New York Rangers on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Atkinson lifts Jackets to 3-2 OT victory vs. Isles

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