Islanders use big second period to top Blue Jackets 5-2

Cam Atkinson and New York Islanders' John Tavares chase a loose puck during the first period.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Brian Strait had a goal and an assist and the New York Islanders used a three-goal second period to power past the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Saturday night.

Nikolay Kulemin, Matt Martin, Anders Lee and Kyle Okposo also scored for the Islanders, who remained in first place in the Metropolitan Division with a second win in as many nights.

Ryan Strome and Thomas Hickey each had two assists, and backup Chad Johnson made 16 saves in his first start since Dec. 23.

Jack Johnson and Nick Foligno scored for Columbus, back home –with the logo for the upcoming NHL All-Star game freshly painted inside the center-ice circle — after going 2-2 on the road. But for a second straight game, the Blue Jackets had a bad period that cost them.

While the Islanders mostly stuck to their game plan, the Blue Jackets fell apart in the second period. On Friday in Toronto, they allowed four goals in the first period in a 5-2 loss. In this one, the Islanders found the net three times in a span of 7:27 in the middle frame to move ahead 4-1.

Tied at 1, the Islanders got a perfect passing combination off a rush started by Casey Cizikas. Strome then sent a pass from the right wing to Martin for the easy redirection in front for his sixth at 10:04.

Three minutes later, Kevin Connauton had trouble with a bouncing puck in his skates. Lee grabbed it at the blue line, raced in and beat Sergei Bobrovsky between the legs for his 10th.

Strait followed with his first of the season at 17:31 on a shot that deflected off the stick of Columbus’ Ryan Johansen.

Early in the third period, Foligno snapped home a rebound off a shot by Johansen to close the gap to two on his career high-tying 18th of the season. Okposo closed the scoring with his ninth at 14:54.


The game was tied 1-1 after the first period even though the Islanders held a 16-4 shots advantage.

Kulemin open the scoring just 31 seconds in, redirecting Nick Leddy’s slap shot for his seventh, and first in nine games.

Johnson pulled Columbus even with a power-play slap shot from the point at 4:22 for his fourth.

Bobrovsky finished with 35 saves.