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Islanders finish perfect homestand by beating Blue Jackets

Dec 29, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) makes a save against as Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Gustav Nyquist (14) looks for a rebound during the first period at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mathew Barzal scored for the host New York Islanders, who continued surging with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

Goalie Ilya Sorokin made 20 saves and carried a shutout into the final minute for the Islanders, who capped a perfect three-game homestand in which they outscored the opposition 12-3.

Emil Bemstrom scored with 21.1 seconds left for the Blue Jackets, who have lost seven straight, all in regulation. Goalie Joonas Korpisalo recorded 34 saves.

The Islanders outshot the Blue Jackets 13-7 in a scoreless first before Pageau began and ended the sequence that resulted in New York’s first goal, 7:12 into the second.

Pageau got a stick on Johnny Gaudreau’s drop pass intended for Adam Boqvist and shoved the puck through the neutral zone. The Islanders’ center outraced Boqvist to the puck and sent a drop pass to Hudson Fasching, who weaved around Gaudreau and fired a shot that Korpisalo slowed. With the puck trickling behind Korpisalo, Pageau raced into the crease and tapped it over the goal line.

Later in the second, Gaudreau was whistled for interference and slashing to set up a long-awaited power-play goal for the Islanders. A pass by Anders Lee in front of the Blue Jackets’ net was intercepted by Sean Kuraly, who gloved the puck and put it down but had his pass clip off the stick of Pageau. The puck went to Brock Nelson, who almost immediately dished to Barzal, who went to one knee and scored from the left faceoff circle with 3:21 left.

The power-play goal was the first since Dec. 9 for the Islanders, who had gone scoreless in 25 power-play opportunities over their previous eight games, as well as their first two power-play chances against the Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets pulled Korpisalo with a little more than 2:30 left and pulled within a goal when Marcus Bjork’s shot glanced off the chest of Bemstrom and fluttered past Sorokin. But Columbus wasn’t able to mount another threat.

–Field Level Media