Blue Jackets outshoot Islanders in 4-0 loss

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Jaroslav Halak stopped 37 shots for his 37th career shutout to lead the surging New York Islanders to their fourth straight win, 4-0 over the winless Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

Nikolay Kulemin gave the Islanders the lead late in the first period, and Thomas Hickey, Cal Clutterbuck and John Tavares all scored in the third period. Halak made a second straight start after returning from an upper-body injury sustained during the preseason.

The Blue Jackets extended their franchise-worst start and became the third team in the NHL’s modern history to open a season 0-7.

Curtis McElhinney finished with 25 saves and was steady throughout, making several key saves to keep Columbus within striking distance for most of the game.

McElhinney was making a second start in a row over the beleguered Sergei Bobrovsky. The former Vezina Trophy winner is 0-5-0 with a 5.07 goals-against-average and .889 save percentage.

Hanging on to a one goal lead, the Islanders gave Columbus every opportunity in the third period to make a game of it, then pulled away with three goals in a 5:26 span to put the game out of reach.

In the first minute, Brandon Dubinsky nearly squeezed a shot through Halak but the goalie reached behind him to cover the puck in the crease.

Soon after, the Islanders took three penalties in just overfive minutes — two because of delay of game with New York players sending the puck over the defensive glass.

The first two opportunites for Columbus generated mostly boos from the home crowd as Halak held his ground, smothering long shots by David Savard and Jack Johnson. Then on the third Blue Jackets’ power play, Halak stuck out his right pad to stop Boone Jenner’s stuff and Hickey was there to keep Jenner’s deflected rebound shot from rolling into the net.

About five minutes later while skating 4-on-4, a Columbus giveaway directly led to the Islanders scoring. Blue Jackets defenseman Cody Goloubef’s poor pass was stolen by Hickey, who skated in alone and beat McElhinney with 8:40 left to make it 2-0.

Clutterbuck roved into the zone down the left side with all kinds of room and snapped in a shot with 6:24 remaining.

Tavares added an empty netter a little more than 3 minutes later.

Columbus has been outscored 18-7 in the third period this season.

The Islanders were buzzing around the Columbus goal early, taking a 3-0 shots advantage only 55 seconds into the game. But McElhinney held things together, turning aside different types of shots with Columbus chasing more of the play.

Kulemin finally broke through with 1:02 remaining in the opening period, converting a rebound of a shot by Marek Zidlicky.

Anders Lee nearly added to the lead with seconds remaining but McElhinney made a stretching toe save.

McElhinney was just as good under fire in the second period. After Ryan Murray’s turnover five minutes in, McElhinney closed the door on Fran Nielsen’s short-handed breakway attempt and rebound.

As the period moved on, the Blue Jackets finally started to get in on the forecheck and generate scoring opportunities. The line of David Clarkson, Brandon Dubinsky and Matt Calvert was circling the net hounding the puck. Halak stopped Nick Foligno from close range then held on tight as Jenner crashed the net poking for the rebound.

NOTES: The NHL’s longest losing streak to begin a season is 11 set by the 1943-44 New York Rangers. The 1997-98 Blackhawks — coached by current Blue Jackets’ associate coach Craig Hartsburg — were the last team to start 0-7-0. … The Islanders played only their second road game (1-1-0) this season. … The Blue Jackets lead the all-time series 14-5-1-3. … Columbus plays its next four games — and seven of eight — on the road. … Tavares has five goals and seven assists in his last seven games against Columbus.