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Islanders lose to Blue Jackets, who win 8th straight

by Craig Merz /

COLUMBUS -- The New York Islanders let a two-goal third-period lead slip away in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Thursday.

New York (45-27-6) is in second place in the Metropolitan Division, tied with the Washington Capitals and one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"We got a point but I thought we deserved better," Islanders captain John Tavares said.

Columbus got goals from Jack Johnson and Ryan Johansen to tie the score 3-3 before Mark Letestu and Johansen scored in the shootout.

Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stopped four Islanders in the shootout after making 25 saves. Columbus tied a Blue Jackets record with an eighth straight win, set Jan. 6-23, 2014.

The Blue Jackets had to kill a penalty with two minutes left in the third period; the Islanders had four shots on the power play.

The Islanders went ahead 3-1 on a Ryan Strome goal 55 seconds into the third. Two minutes later, Strome had a redirect that hit the right post then skimmed the crossbar.

"It's frustrating," Strome said. "If that goes in off the post, maybe it's a different game."

Goalie Jaroslav Halak made 36 saves for the Islanders, including four during a Columbus power play in overtime after New York defenseman Johnny Boychuk was called for interference.

"I thought we played a pretty good road game," Tavares said. "Giving up a two-goal lead late is obviously disappointing, but if you look at the way the game was going, it easily could have been 4-1.

"[Strome] hit the post and it didn't go in. The tying goal it hit about three guys and went right to him. Even the second [goal] had eyes."

Strome was the beneficiary of a rebound off a shot from the blue line by defenseman Travis Hamonic for his 17th goal.

Johnson made it 3-2 with 8:57 left in the third period by pushing in a loose puck after a scramble in front of Halak. It was the defenseman's second goal in two games and eighth of the season.

"Jack Johnson's goal really energized us," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "It got the crowd into it."

Johansen tied it with 3:43 left by extending his point streak to nine games (four goals, eight assists) with a sweep of the puck, which was in the crease after a save by Halak.

"I just had to whack it in," Johansen said. "I was happy to see it go across the line.

"We were building momentum and eventually got them back on their heels where they were in more of a defensive mode. We were taking chances, pinching and throwing everything at them. Sometimes it pays off."

Islanders coach Jack Capuano said, "We played well again. It's a broken record. … They did a great job of their D-men getting shots through to the net. That's how they scored three goals."

Eric Boulton scored in the first period for the Islanders and Brandon Dubinsky tied it for the Blue Jackets before the period was over. Tavares scored his 35th in the second but the Islanders could not hold the lead.

"I don’t know how much time was left, but with a 3-1 lead we should have that as a group," Hamonic said. You can't have that at this time of the year, but you’ve got to move forward. You can’t keep dwelling on it."

The Islanders host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

"As disappointing as it was, we got a point on the road," Capuano said. "You want to get the two. You've got to rebound and reset and get ready for Saturday night."

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