Things were going well for the New York Islanders — until they weren’t.
New York found themselves up 2-0 when Cal Clutterbuck and Adam Pelech each took penalties with 6:23 to go in the second period.
Oliver Wahlstrom took a knee-to-knee hit from Sean Kuraly on the previous shift and Brock Nelson took a two-handed slash to the leg shortly before the Islanders’ matching penalties, but they were the ones who found themselves on the penalty kill.
That’s the way it goes sometimes.
The Columbus Jackets capitalized on the 5-on-3 power play quickly with two goals in 33 seconds to tie the game up.
They easily could have given up there, but they did not.
The Islanders rode a go-ahead goal from Brock Nelson near the midway point of the third period to take a 3-2 win in Columbus.
The Islanders’ new-look top line made an impact to start the game.
Simon Holmstrom chipped the puck up the boards and around a Blue Jackets defender up to Mathew Barzal to start an odd-man rush late in the first period. Barzal slid the puck over to Wahlstrom, who fired a missile from above the hash marks to put New York ahead 1-0.
Holmstrom got his first NHL point in his second game with an assist after that play.
New York found itself on the penalty kill early in the second when Wahlstrom was assessed a holding the stick penalty on a 50/50 play with Boone Jenner but killed it off with ease. They got a power play opportunity just 18 seconds after it expired and cashed in.
Noah Dobson fired the puck off the boards and it took a bounce right into a Jean-Gabriel Pageau deflection with 12:09 to go in the frame.
After matching penalties from Clutterbuck and Pelech with 6:23 to go in the second period, momentum seemed to swing in the direction of the Blue Jackets.
Yegor Chinakov sent a snap shot from the high slot past Ilya Sorokin 27 seconds into the two-man advantage to bring Columbus within a goal. Kent Johnson then scored off a slap shot from above the left circle 23 seconds later to tie the game with 5:22 to go in the second period.
The Islanders did not let that deter them.
After the Islanders shut things down for the remainder of the second period, Nelson took advantage of a turnover from Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo and cut right through the defense and snapped one short-side to take the lead 6:10 into the third period.
Sorokin stopped all 10 shots he faced in the third period and 23 of the 25 shots he faced overall to help the Islanders secure the win.
New York move to 14-8-0 and hold a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second seed in the Metropolitan Divison through 22 games.
COLBY’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Brock Nelson, New York (go-ahead goal)
2. Mathew Barzal, New York (two assists)
3. Simon Holmstrom, New York (First NHL point)
UP NEXT FOR THE ISLES
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS AT NEW YORK ISLANDERS
- WHEN/WHERE: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; UBS Arena, Elmont
- TV/STREAMING: MSGSN/ESPN+
- LAST SEASON: Islanders won season series 3-1
- ALL-TIME SERIES: Flyers lead 148-98-18, 26 ties
- SEASON SERIES: First meeting of the season