Blue Jackets recover after blowing lead, KO Isles
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Blue Jackets could have caved in Thursday night after giving up a three-goal lead, but their response was quick and decisive.
Seth Jones scored a tiebreaking goal 1:11 after the New York Islanders rallied to tie in the second period and the Blue Jackets held on for a 6-4 victory at Nationwide Arena.
Nick Foligno followed Jones’ goal late in the second period with the 100th of his career and Josh Anderson’s empty-netter with one second left sealed the outcome.
The Blue Jackets (20-11-1) have won 11 of their last 15 games and remain in first place in the tightly contested Metropolitan Division.
“I just liked the way we didn’t lose our composure when we gave the goals back and just kept on trying to play,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said.
Zach Werenski, Markus Nutivaara and Pierre-Luc Dubois each scored in the first period to stake the Blue Jackets to a 3-0 lead that didn’t hold up.
Oliver Bjorkstrand contributed three assists, and Artemi Panarin and Alexander Wennberg two each for Columbus. Assist maker Panarin has 12 points, including 10 assists, in the past seven games.
“Really proud of the way we battled back and get a huge win and really gut one out at the end,” Foligno said. “Timely penalty kill, big plays at the end. It’s good to see, especially after a game (Tuesday night) that we were completely embarrassed.
“To come back and have an answer like that against a good team, a divisional team, says a lot about this club.”
A hat trick from Josh Bailey and a goal by Casey Cizikas were not enough for the Islanders (17-12-3).
Captain John Tavares was frustrated after his three-assist game for New York, which lost at home a night earlier.
“We were just giving up too many goals,” Tavares said. “Giving them point-blank opportunities. We shoot ourselves in the foot there at the end of the second. Just keep having to come from multiple-goal deficits, it’s tough to win in this league.”
The Islanders have hit a lull at this point in the season, losing six of their last eight games.
Islanders coach Doug Weight was impressed with the comeback in the second game of a back-to-back but not with the start.
“You battle, and then you scratch and claw, and the guys are dog tired, it’s just a shame,” he said. “We ran out of time.”
After the Blue Jackets were embarrassed Tuesday night in a 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, they appeared to be releasing their frustration after jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period.
But the Islanders rallied with three straight goals in the second to tie it. The Blue Jackets then responded with two goals to end the period and reclaim the lead.
Jones’ fourth goal of the season off a setup pass from Cam Atkinson put the Blue Jackets back in front at 15:03 of the second, and Foligno expanded the lead with a shot inside the post after taking a pass from Bjorkstrand.
“After the last game, we weren’t too satisfied and we talked about having a good start,” Werenski said. “They had a tough travel day and we wanted to jump on them early and we did just that.”
Bailey did what he could for the Islanders. He scored two of his three goals in the second, including one that tied it.
His third goal pulled the Islanders within one goal at 7:11 of the third period. Goalie Thomas Greiss was pulled in the final two minutes, but Anderson sealed the outcome with the empty-netter.
“It’s tough to win hockey games when you get down that much,” Bailey said. “We battled and found a way to get our legs going to compete the rest of the way and make it close. But it’s just frustrating the way we let it get away.”
Greiss made 29 saves for the Islanders. Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky picked up the win despite giving up four goals on 25 shots. He has allowed nine goals in his past two starts.
“That’s a good win for us coming off that bit of a nightmare the game before,” Tortorella said.
NOTES: Blue Jackets F Brandon Dubinsky will miss 6-to-8 weeks with a fractured orbital bone suffered during a fight near the end of Tuesday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Dubinsky leads the team in faceoff wins. ... Columbus called up C Jordan Schroeder from AHL Cleveland and put him on the fourth line. ... C Alan Quine replaced LW Anthony Beauvillier on the Islanders’ fourth line. ... Blue Jackets D Ryan Murray remains sidelined with an upper-body injury. He has missed the past eight games but is skating again. ... D Jack Johnson became only the third defenseman to play in 400 career games with the Blue Jackets. ... Islanders F Jason Chimera has the longest current consecutive games streak in the NHL at 220.