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New York Islanders

Rapid Reaction: Islanders Hold On, Defeat Blue Jackets 4-3

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New York Islanders

The New York Islanders, after getting out to a 4-1 lead, held on to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. The Islanders are now 29-27-9 on the season and just two points back of Columbus in the Metropolitan Division standings.

ISLANDERS LINES:

Lee–Nelson–Beavuillier

Bailey–Pageau–Palmieri

Parise–Barzal–Wahlstrom

Martin–Cizikas–Johnston

Pelech–Pulock

Chara–Dobson

Greene-Hutton

Varlamov

Schneider

HOW IT HAPPENED

Vladislav Gavrikov gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead as he buried a rebound following a Patrik Laine shot for his fourth of the season. Laine and Andrew Peeke were credited with the assists on the goal at 7:20 of the first period.

Brock Nelson tied the contest at one with his power-play goal at 11:47 of the first period. Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal were credited with the assists on Nelson’s 32nd of the season.

The Islanders took the lead with under five minutes to play in the first period as Josh Bailey beat Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikins over the blocker for his eighth goal of the season. Jean-Gabriel Pageau was credited with the lone assist on the goal at 15:09 of the first period.

Anthony Beauvillier gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead under four minutes into the second period. After Brock Nelson hit the crossbar, Beauvillier fired the puck from the left corner into the net with Merzlikins sprawled out. Beauvillier’s 11th of the season was assisted by Nelson and Lee at 3:47 of the second period.

Zach Parise made it 4-1 Islanders, as Noah Dobson found him all alone towards the left post for a tap-in at 9:10 of the second period. Dobson and Mathew Barzal were credited with the assists.

Gavrikov scored his second of the contest to make it a 4-2 game with under seven minutes to play in the second period. After a shot from the point was blocked, Gavrikov beat Varlamov to the left post for his fifth of the season. Voracek and Patrik Laine were credited with the assists.

Oliver Bjorkstrand made it a one-goal game early in the third period as he beat Semyon Varlamov blocker side on a broken play after a blocked seam pass. The goal was unassisted at 4:30 of the third period.

Varlamov With Big Save in Third

New York Islanders Semyon Varlamov will be the go-to guy while Ilya Sorokin is out with an upper-body injury. In his start against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Varlamov shook off a shaky start, in terms of rebound control.

But as the clock dwindled down in the third period, Varlamov played his best hockey.

The Blue Jackets were dangerous and Varlamov was up for the challenge. From diving back to stop a puck from crossing the goal line to challenging shooters, Varlamov was doing what he could to preserve the lead.

He stopped 15 of 16 shots he saw in the third period, stopping a total of 42 of the 45 shots that came his way.

“Varly was really good in the third,” Barry Trotz said.  “I mean, he battled through a lot of stuff. You know, they were throwing pucks to the net and you know, they were getting traffic there and they were…there’s a lot of loose pucks around the slot area and credit to Varly, he picked some of those up….”

Wining the Special Teams Battle

The New York Islanders were able to win their battle with the Columbus Blue Jackets in large part to winning the special teams battle.

The Islanders were one for four on their power-play opportunities, with their power-play goal tying the contest at one in the first period. The Islanders were able to score one more goal before the end of the first period and then another two goals in the second period to pull out to a 4-1 lead before Columbus got one back.

But what was more important was the penalty kill, especially in the first period. 

The Islanders penalty killers killed off two of two Columbus Blue Jacket power plays, not giving them much of a chance toward goal. The first kill was pivotal as the Islanders could have been down 2-0 early.

The Islanders killed off another penalty late in the third period, in which the Blue Jackets had a 6 on 4 advantage (pulled goalie) but the Islanders and Semyon Varlamov did not allow much.

“Special teams was big, really good tonight,” Zach Parise said. “Tonight getting an early one on the power play is always a boost for the team. You have to pay a lot of attention. They’ve got some good weapons on their power play with Laine’s shot, and I’ll give a pass to Voracek…they’ve got a lot of options.”

Nelson’s Nets 200th

There’s hot and then there’s whatever Brock Nelson is as he lit the lamp yet again. Not only did he score his 32nd of the season in the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets or record his fourth straight game with a goal.

But with the equalizer in the first period, Nelson scored his 200th career NHL goal.

“But I mean, the way Brock’s playing right now, it’s pretty great and incredible,” Anders Lee said.

It took Nelson 11 games to go from 20 to 30 goals. After two games, he now has 32, so reaching the 40-goal mark with 16 games to go is definitely doable.

Martin Reaches 800th Game

For a player who is as physical as Matt Martin has been throughout his NHL career, playing in the league for 13 years is an accomplishment in itself.

On Thursday night, Martin skated in his 800th game. 668 of those came in a New York Islanders uniform. 132 of those games came as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

During the second-period intermission, MSG networks Shannon Hogan spoke with Matt Martin about his accomplishment.

“I am proud and fortunate to have made it this far and hopefully we can keep going.”

Notes

Netminder Cory Schneider was recalled from Bridgeport (AHL) as Ilya Sorokin is out with an upper-body injury.

Sebastian Aho and Ross Johnston were healthy scratches as Grant Hutton remained in the lineup for a second-straight game while Kieffer Bellows was penciled in on the fourth line.

Matt Martin skated in career game no. 800.

WHAT’S NEXT: The New York Islanders host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday at 7 PM.