Blue Jackets at Islanders
The Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders are each just one point out of the basement in the Metropolitan Division, but both teams also are one point from the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The division rivals meet for the fourth time this season when the Islanders host the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
Columbus snapped out of its offensive funk with a 6-1 rout of New Jersey to halt a five-game skid (0-4-1) and will play five of its next six against Metropolitan opponents. “This was a huge game for us, but the next one is our biggest one,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said after throttling the Devils. “We need to start stringing success together and that’s how we’re going to build this team, get the good feelings and confidence.” New York squandered a two-goal lead in a 3-2 setback to Calgary -- its second straight loss when leading after two periods after winning its first 18 in that situation this season. The Islanders dropped the first two meetings of the season to Columbus but snapped a four-game losing streak in the series with a 4-3 victory on Feb. 3, extending their point streak at home to 13 games (9-0-4) against the Blue Jackets.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Ohio (Columbus), MSG Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (28-23-4): Columbus, which posted its first regulation victory in 14 games Saturday, could be getting reinforcements back in the lineup. Defenseman Ryan Murray and forward Sonny Milano each practiced fully on Monday and will accompany the team on the two-game trip. “I feel pretty good right now, we’re just going to make sure," said Murray, who last played on Nov. 27. "I’m trying to take it day-by-day, honestly. It has been frustrating; everyone just wants to play and I’m no different."
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (27-24-6): Coach Doug Weight was annoyed with having to explain why he sat rookie Mathew Barzal, who has six assists in the last two games, in the waning moments against Calgary. “I’ll own up to it. I didn’t have a great game," Barzal told Newsday. "I didn’t deserve to be out there late in the game. He made a good coaching move. I’ve got to hold myself accountable." Josh Bailey had a four-game point streak snapped Sunday, but he scored four goals in the past two meetings versus Columbus.
1. Columbus has unleashed 175 shots on goal in the past four games while the Islanders have allowed at least 35 shots in 13 straight at home.
2. Islanders G Jaroslav Halak improved to 13-5-3 with a 46-save performance against Columbus earlier this month.
3. The Blue Jackets have the league's worst power play, but they are 3-for-7 against New York this season.