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Isles seek first-ever win in Columbus

by John Kreiser

ISLANDERS (30-34-10) at BLUE JACKETS (30-32-12)

Last 10 -- New York 4-4-2; Columbus 5-4-1

Season series -- It's the second meeting of the season. The Islanders won 2-1 at the Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 29 when Rob Schremp scored the winner in a shootout.

Big story -- Both teams are 14th in their conference, and the only thing they'll will be making come mid-April are vacation plans, but both are coming off big wins. The Isles rebounded from a humiliating 5-0 road loss to the Rangers by beating Calgary 3-2 on Thursday night, putting a crimp in the Flames' playoff hopes. The Blue Jackets tied a franchise record for offense by routing Chicago 8-3.

Team Scope:

Islanders -- The Islanders pulled a no-show against the Rangers on Wednesday, which made the win over the Flames all the more satisfying.

"It was a great thing for our players to throw that game away and come out and play hard," coach Scott Gordon said.

The Isles got a solid effort in goal from Martin Biron -- who got a lot more help than his counterpart, Dwayne Roloson, received a night earlier.

"We all know that (game) should've been 15-0 if it wasn't for Rollie," Biron said, "so to be able to look each other in the eyes in the locker room this morning and assess the situation, its something good."

Blue Jackets -- Thursday was party night in Columbus, where the Jackets had their biggest offensive night at home in franchise history and matched the team record for goals in a game while burying the division-rival Blackhawks.

"It was a night that was enjoyable from the standpoint of creating offense and getting some goals," interim coach Claude Noel said. "It wasn't an outcome we anticipated. They are a very good team, and we certainly have a lot of respect for them. Their goaltending struggled a bit tonight, and that showed in the result of the game."

Who's hot -- Biron is 4-0-2 in his last six starts. … Kristian Huselius had a pair of goals for Columbus on Thursday and has 12 points in the Jackets' last six games.

Injury report -- The Isles are running through defensemen the way some teams run through tape. Mark Flood made his Isles debut Thursday after Dustin Kohn left Wednesday's game with a head injury -- becoming the 11th defenseman to play on Long Island this season. There might be a 12th, because Bruno Gervais reportedly is day-to-day with a groin strain. … The Jackets are without defensemen Jan Hejda (knee) and Rostislav Klesla (hip).

Stat pack -- The Islanders are still looking for their first victory at Nationwide Arena. They are 0-4-1-1 in Columbus, including a 3-1 loss in their last visit on Dec. 13, 2008. … The Isles' 3-2 win against Calgary marked only the second time this season they've won when trailing after two periods. They are 2-28-4 when down after 40 minutes.

Puck drop -- Though neither team has officially been eliminated, realistically there are no playoff berths on the line in this one -- but don't be surprised if it's an entertaining game. Both teams showed Thursday that they've still got some compete left in them, and a lot of players are trying to show management that they're worthy of jobs in the fall.

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