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Isles aim to break skid against red-hot Blue Jackets

by Brian Compton
BLUE JACKETS (13-6-0) at ISLANDERS (4-12-4)


Last 10:
Columbus 7-3-0; New York 0-8-2

Season Series:
This is the lone meeting between the teams. They last faced each other on March 27, when Josh Bailey’s overtime goal lifted the Islanders to a 4-3 victory at Nationwide Arena.

Big Story: This is a tale of two teams going in opposite directions. Columbus recently completed a three-game sweep in California and has won four straight overall. The Islanders, meanwhile, haven't won a game since Oct. 21, a span of 13 games. They have picked up two of a possible 26 points (0-11-2).

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets:
Columbus continued its winning ways Monday night as it earned a 2-0 victory on home ice against the Nashville Predators. Steve Mason stopped all 27 shots he faced, while Rick Nash tallied his 13th goal of the season.

"I think we had the same mentality as the road games," said Nash, who had 6 goals for Columbus on the West Coast. "We forget about our last game. We were just worrying about tonight against Nashville, and that's why I think we played so well."

The winless streak reached 13 on Sunday, when Rick DiPietro was a hard-luck loser in a 2-1 overtime defeat at Atlanta. Michael Grabner scored the lone goal for the Islanders, who are experiencing an extremely difficult time finding the back of the net.

"If I can say one thing throughout this whole thing is guys care," said DiPietro, who made 33 saves against the Thrashers. "I hope people realize that. This eats at us. This isn't fun for anybody. It keeps guys up at night and makes us sick to our stomachs. This is unacceptable for us. We want to start winning some games."

Travis Hamonic, a second-round draft pick in 2008, will make his NHL debut on Wednesday.

Who's Hot:
Nash has a six-game goal streak and points in each of his last nine games. Both goaltenders -- Mason and Mathieu Garon -- are playing well for the Blue Jackets. Their 2.32 goals allowed per game are the third-fewest in the NHL.

Injury Report:
Columbus forwards Kristian Huselius (foot) and Derek Dorsett (undisclosed) are day-to-day, while Ethan Moreau (hand) is out indefinitely. … The Islanders will be without Mark Streit (shoulder), Kyle Okposo (shoulder), Mike Mottau (eye), Jack Hillen (concussion), Milan Jurcina (hamstring) and Andrew MacDonald (hand). Doug Weight is suffering from back spasms and is questionable.

Stat Pack:
Prior to Monday's win, the Blue Jackets were 5-16-7 over the previous four seasons against Nashville. … John Tavares has had a plus rating in only two games this season. His minus-15 rating is worst on the club. Much of that has to do with the fact that his team has scored only 18 goals during this 13-game freefall.

Puck Drop:
"I think now that we've had three or four practices, they have an idea of how we want to play. We had chances. We just have to get the puck off our stick a little quicker. That's one area we have to get better at, for sure." -- Isles interim coach Jack Capuano after Sunday's OT loss at Atlanta

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