Casey Cizikas scored the tie-breaking goal 7:09 into the third period Saturday night for the host New York Islanders, who made their return to Nassau Coliseum a winning one by coming back from a two-goal deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2.
Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier also scored for the Islanders, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Goalie Thomas Greiss recorded 28 saves.
Markus Hannikainen and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for the Blue Jackets, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves.
The Blue Jackets’ first goal began with a flurry in which Hannikainen was leveled by Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk. But Columbus regained the loose puck and Hannikainen got to his feet and skated to the left of Greiss, where he put back a rebound of Seth Jones’ shot for the first goal at the new Coliseum 6:46 into the second period.
The Blue Jackets doubled their lead off another turnover by the Islanders behind the New York net. Cam Atkinson stole the puck from Josh Bailey and passed to Dubois, who beat Greiss under his glove.
The Islanders tied the score with their own two-goal flurry in a span of 3:25 later in the period.
Lee, the Islanders’ captain, collected his team’s first goal in their old/new home in delayed fashion with 8:01 left. Officials initially waved off the goal when Lee, in the crease, accidentally kicked a puck that was last touched by Jordan Eberle. The goal was awarded upon replay.
There was no controversy when Beauvillier capped an end-to-end rush in impressive fashion with 4:36 remaining. Beauvillier, who took control of the puck at the Islanders’ blue line, skated up the right side of the ice with Mathew Barzal matching him on the left side. With Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard in between the two players, Beauvillier faked a pass to Barzal, which caused Savard to sprawl to the ice. Beauvillier then fired a shot at Bobrovsky and, with Savard unable to get to his feet, was all alone to put back the rebound.
Cizikas is one of nine Islanders remaining form the 2014-15 team that played what was believed to be the final season at the Coliseum, which hosted the franchise from its inception in 1972. But the move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn dissatisfied players and fans alike and generated interest in a return to Long Island.
Last December, the Islanders announced plans to build a new arena at the Nassau/Queens border. Weeks later, the team announced it would play at least 12 home games at the Coliseum this season. That number has since been increased to 21 games, which is expected to remain the minimum number of games they will play at the Coliseum each season until the arena is ready for the 2021-22 campaign.
—Field Level Media