Islanders bring 3-game win streak into Columbus
The New York Islanders will try to continue their playoff push and maintain their solid wild-card position in the Eastern Conference when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
The Islanders (37-27-8, 82 points) are riding a three-game winning streak into Columbus, a stretch that includes a 7-2 home win over Toronto. In that game, the Islanders broke open a close game with four goals in the third period.
The Islanders are comfortably in playoff position, holding onto the top wild-card spot while battling through late-season injuries.
Brock Nelson was a full participant in Thursday's practice before the team left for Columbus.
The Islanders forward left Tuesday's game against Toronto in the first period after a hit against the boards and did not return. The team picked up the slack in his absence, scoring all seven goals over the final 40 minutes.
Islanders head coach Lane Lambert indicated Nelson did not return for precautionary reasons but was relieved to see him on the ice Thursday, a good sign for Friday night.
"Very good (to see him)," Lambert said. "He seems like he's OK so that's good."
Nelson, one of five players to play in all 72 games so far, has 30 goals and 35 assists in his 10th season with the Islanders.
"I felt better (Wednesday), and I felt better again (Thursday)," Nelson said after practice. "I just wanted to get back out there and keep going. Right now I feel pretty good."
Sebastian Aho did not practice and remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Mathew Barzal remains out and hasn't resumed skating since his injury on Feb. 18. Lambert did not have an update on either player Thursday.
The Blue Jackets (22-41-7, 51 points) are coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season, a 7-6 victory in Washington on a night the Capitals honored superstar captain Alex Ovechkin.
Columbus wiped out deficits of 3-0, 4-2 and 5-3 before tying the game in the final minute of regulation Tuesday and winning in overtime on a goal from Jack Roslovic just under three minutes into the extra period.
Roslovic's second of the game came on a one-timer off a pass from Johnny Gaudreau on a 2-on-1 following a T.J. Oshie turnover.
"(Gaudreau) is a passer," Roslovic said. "He was out there for a while. Anytime you get a 2-on-1 though you get a burst of energy. It was nice to get the puck from him and put it in."
The game-tying goal came after Boone Jenner tied it 6-6 with 47 seconds remaining in regulation.
"Every time we'd score, they'd come back and get one, but I liked how we just stuck with it and got rewarded tonight," Jenner said. "Gutsy win for us."
The Blue Jackets, in the midst of playing 12 of 15 away from home, finished their recent five-game road trip 2-3-0. They are home for just this one game before heading back on the road for three games to finish up the long 15-game stretch.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 23, 2023