Game Preview: Islanders vs. Blue Jackets

By David Kolb

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (32-10-4) @ NEW YORK ISLANDERS (19-17-9)

METRO DIVISION BATTLE

Tonight the Islanders host the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second of four games the clubs play against each other this season and the first of two at Barclays Center. The Isles dropped the first game of the season series, 6-2 in Columbus back on Dec. 10, however, look to even the score tonight on home-ice. The Islanders take the ice after picking up seven out of a possible eight points over the past four games, including Sunday’s 3-2 OT loss vs. the Philadelphia Flyers, which snapped the Isles’ three-game winning streak. The Blue Jackets meanwhile, made it two straight wins following Sunday’s wild 7-6 OT win over the Ottawa Senators.

QUOTABLE

“We seemed sluggish and our execution wasn’t as good as it was our last two games. Today wasn’t our best. We’ll rest up and get ready for a tough couple of games heading into the All-Star break.”

— Captain John Tavares looking forward to tonight’s tilt and then Thursday’s game vs. Montreal, before Sunday’s All-Star Game.

GREISS NHL’S SECOND STAR

The NHL announced Monday that Isles’ goalie, Thomas Greiss was named the Second Star of the Week for the week ending on Jan. 22. Greiss was 2-0-1 with two shutouts in three games while posting a .971 save percentage and a .982 goals-against average. The German-born goaltender has helped the Islanders to points in four of his past five starts and is now 3-2-3 with a 2.10 goals against and .936 in eight starts in January.

CAM ON A CAREER BEST PACE

Columbus forward, Cam Atkinson continued his stellar season Sunday in Ottawa, scoring two goals, including the game-winner in overtime. The 27-year-old is now just four goals short of his career-high 27 set last season, as he has 23 goals with 22 assists for 45 points through 46 games this season.

MORE O FROM LED-D

Isles’ defenseman, Nick Leddy scored a goal in Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Flyers, giving him three points (one goal, two assists) in his past two games. Leddy leads all Islanders’ blueliners in points with 24 in 44 games and has been a huge contributor this month, potting three goals with six helpers for nine points in nine games in January.