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Islanders-Blue Jackets Preview @NHLdotcom
Islanders-Blue Jackets Preview

GAME: New York Islanders (14-12-1) at Columbus Blue Jackets (7-19-0).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

Mike York got off to a slow start with the New York Islanders, but he's hoping his early season slump is behind him.

York looks to build on his strongest offensive performance of the season and lead the Islanders to their first-ever win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

York scored two goals and assisted on three in the Islanders' 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. York, who spent the previous three seasons with Edmonton, entered the game with just four goals and nine assists in 26 games.

"His production hasn't been what he would like or what we would like," coach Steve Stirling said. "But through all that, he still does the little things, still kills penalties, still does the things we need him to do."

York scored a career-high 26 goals in his rookie season of 1999-2000 for the New York Rangers and recorded a career-best 57 points (18 goals and 39 assists) for the Rangers in 2001-02. He had 16 goals and 26 assists for the Oilers last season.

"It was no different than any other night," said York, who also scored the winning goal in Sunday's 2-1 victory at Detroit. "Sometimes they're going in and sometimes they're not. Tonight, they were."

The five-point game was the second of York's career. He also had five against Boston on Jan. 23, 2002, while with the Rangers.

"It's always good to get off to a lead and get those goals," said York, who scored both of his goals Tuesday in the first period. "It wasn't a great period, but we came away with a 3-0 lead."

Mark Parrish added two goals, the first of which gave him 150 for his career, and 100 with the Islanders. New York has won three of four and is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games.

The Islanders have won four straight on the road for the first time since 2001.

"We did some positive things, but overall I don't think that was one of our better games," said goalie Rick DiPietro, who made 31 saves. "We did a good job of capitalizing on our quality chances and that was our difference."

The Islanders are 0-5-1 all-time against the Blue Jackets and lost their only meeting with Columbus in 2003-04.

The Blue Jackets have not played since last Thursday, when they lost 4-1 to St. Louis. The six days between games is the longest non-Olympic break for the team this season.

Jaroslav Balastik got his first career goal for Columbus, which had won two in a row since a seven-game losing streak. Goalie Pascal LeClaire had 40 saves a night after getting his first career victory in a 3-2 shootout victory over Minnesota.

The Blue Jackets placed center Manny Malhotra, who is nursing a back injury, on injured reserve before last Thursday's game.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 7): Islanders - 29 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Atlantic Division. Blue Jackets - 14 points, 4th place, 26 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Jason Blake and Miroslav Satan, 13 goals; Alexei Zhitnik, 19 assists; Alexei Yashin, 29 points; Janne Niinimaa, 52 PIM. Blue Jackets - David Vyborny, 6 goals; Malhotra, 13 assists; Vyborny and Bryan Berard, 16 points; Jody Shelley, 48 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 7): Islanders - Power play 18.5 percent (30 for 162), 11th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.2 percent (154 for 185), 9th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 10.1 percent (15 for 148), 30th. Penalty killing: 81.3 percent (148 for 182), 22nd.

GOALTENDERS: Islanders - DiPietro (10-9-1, 3.19 GAA); Garth Snow (4-3-0, 3.37). Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (3-11-0, 3.51); Martin Prusek (3-3-0, 3.22); LeClaire (1-5-0, 3.77).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Blue Jackets, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 22, 2003; Blue Jackets, 2-1. At Columbus, Rick Nash and Todd Marchant scored for the Blue Jackets, who got both of their goals in the second period.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 9-7-0 on the road; Blue Jackets - 4-8-0 at home.

Associated Press
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