|NYI||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|CBJ||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
A lack of offense has been at the center of the Columbus Blue Jackets' recent funk, with the team barely averaging two goals while losing seven of its last 11 games.
Facing the New York Islanders seems like it should be the perfect fix.
The Blue Jackets on Saturday look to become the sixth straight team to earn a win at the expense of the Islanders, whose woeful defense reached a new low in the team's most recent game.
It's been nearly a full month since Columbus last scored more than three goals in a game, with the Blue Jackets (12-13-3) averaging 2.1 goals in 11 games since, going 4-6-1 over that span.
Recently, the drought has hit Rick Nash, who leads the team with 13 goals and 24 points, but has been held without a point in his last three games.
Mike Commodore's third-period goal was the only one to beat Nashville goalie Dan Ellis on Thursday, but it was enough as the Blue Jackets beat the Predators 2-1 in a shootout. The win snapped a three-game losing streak after the team had been swept in a West Coast trip to San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.
"It was definitely huge," said Columbus goalie Steve Mason, who made 25 saves to improve to 7-4-1. "Everybody was truly disappointed with how it (the road trip) turned out. We put in a great 60-minute effort here. We were rewarded for it."
Mason, a rookie, has helped stabilize the Blue Jackets' goaltending situation with starter Pascal Leclaire struggling. Leclaire's 3.74 goals-against average is the league's worst, but Mason's 2.05 mark is among the NHL's best.
In contrast, the Islanders (10-17-2) have found no answers in net. With starter Rick DiPietro still out, Joey MacDonald has struggled lately, going 1-6-0 with a 4.46 GAA in his last seven starts.
MacDonald was pulled after giving up four goals on 19 shots in one period Thursday at Pittsburgh, and backup Yann Danis wasn't much better, allowing five goals on 19 shots in the final 40 minutes of the 9-2 defeat.
"I've got to be better. I'd like to have at least two of them back," MacDonald said. "That got them going, and then poor (Danis) went in there and kind of got hung out to dry."
It was the first time New York had allowed nine goals in a game since Dec. 19, 2005, against Toronto, but it wasn't exactly shocking given the Islanders' recent problems.
They've allowed at least four goals in each game of their five-game losing streak, and they're averaging more than five goals allowed in their last eight games - losing seven of them. Their 3.66 team GAA is the worst in the league.
Saturday's game concludes a four-game road trip for the Islanders, who've been outscored 29-11 in a current five-game road losing streak. They've never won in Columbus, going 0-3-1 with a tie in five visits.
They did, however, withstand Columbus' three-goal third-period rally to beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime at home on Nov. 3.
|Dec 13 '08||NYI 1 at CBJ 3||J. Chimera|
|Nov 03 '08||CBJ 3 at NYI 4 - OT||C. Campoli|