The Blue Jackets visit the Islanders tonight
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
After ending a franchise record for futility, the Columbus Blue Jackets hope a visit to the punchless New York Islanders can help them avoid setting another.
The Blue Jackets will try to snap an 11-game road losing streak Tuesday night when they visit the last-place Islanders.
Columbus (14-18-7) ended a team-record nine-game losing streak Monday when Fredrik Modin scored off a rebound of his own shot 3:12 into overtime to clinch a 1-0 win over Detroit, splitting a home-and-home set after falling 2-1 at home on Saturday.
The victory was just the Blue Jackets’ third in 20 games (3-12-5), and first since a 3-0 win against Florida on Dec. 9.
“It feels good to get a win, finally,” Modin said. “It’s been a struggle. We’ve been trying to find our game here for a long period of time. This is definitely a step in the right direction.”
The Blue Jackets will now try to carry some of that momentum into Nassau Coliseum, in an effort to halt a franchise record-tying 11-game road losing streak. They last endured a slide that long as visitors when they dropped the last eight of the 2001-02 season and the first three of 2002-03.
Columbus’ current struggles have a lot to do with a lack of scoring. The team has scored one goal in each of the last three games, while failing to net more than three for 13 in a row, losing 12.
It hasn’t done much better preventing goals, allowing a Western Conference-high 136.
Rick Nash, the team leader with 19 goals and 36 points, is having a tough time finding the net, scoring five goals in the last 20 games while managing just one shot on goal Monday. The All-Star left wing hasn’t scored in three games against New York (15-18-7).
The Blue Jackets, though, have enjoyed great success against the Islanders, holding a 7-1-1 advantage with a tie in the all-time series. However, both losses have come at New York, including a 4-3 overtime defeat in their last visit on Nov. 3, 2008.
The Islanders are having their own offensive problems, ranking last in the NHL with 2.4 goals per game. They’ve been outscored 40-21 while going 4-8-0 over the last 12 contests, getting shut out twice.
New York struggled offensively again Sunday, falling 2-1 at home to Philadelphia. The defeat was the 13th in a row to the Flyers, as the Islanders fell a point back of them into last place in the Atlantic Division.
“You try to just focus on doing what makes your team successful,” right wing Trent Hunter told the team’s official Web site.
“You can’t worry about rivalries and records. You just have to worry about the next game and worry about getting the two points.”
Rookie John Tavares – the team leader with 16 goals and 28 points – has struggled lately, scoring one goal in his last nine games for his only point in that span.
Dwayne Roloson will likely be back in net after being rested in favor of Martin Biron, who made 28 saves to lose his sixth consecutive start.
Biron is 2-11-2 with a 3.22 goals-against average and a shutout in 17 games – 15 starts.
Roloson, though, has emerged as the Islanders’ No. 1 goaltender, winning his last two starts while stopping 62 of 65 shots.
He’s 13-7-5 with a 2.83 GAA in 25 games, but has dropped three of his last five games against Columbus, while posting a 2.82 GAA.