Columbus Blue Jackets (28-23-4) at New York Islanders (27-24-6)Tuesday, February 13th at 7 EST – MSG+, FS-Ohio
These two clubs are in an all-out dog fight for a playoff spot as the off-season quickly approaches. The less than ideal Blue Jackets season has found them scraping for points as they sit outside of the playoff picture. The Islanders have been their opposite as they have established themselves as a surprisingly good team.
Columbus and New York currently have the same amount of points at 60 each and they both sit 1 point out of a playoff spot as of February 11. This match could be pivotal in the decision of who’s making the playoffs and who isn’t. These head to head divisional matchups are always important as either team has the opportunity to take points from the other.
Keys to a win for the Blue Jackets is stopping that potent Barzal and Tavares pairing on the defensive side. As we saw the other night with the Islanders incredible 7-6 overtime win over the Red Wings, this Islanders team is never out of a game.
Barzal and Tavares combined for 7 points in that game and they weren’t even goals. They were all assists. These two dynamic players have proven that they aren’t only dangerous when they are shooting the puck but they can also win games by being generous with the puck and creating goals.
The Blue Jackets need to find a way to contain them if they want to find success against an Islanders team that has proven they can comeback at any time. On the offensive side, Columbus needs to simply get pucks to the net as the Islanders allow the most goals in the entire NHL at 3.67 per game on average.
The Islanders could certainly use some practice when it comes to keeping the puck out of their net. If the Blue Jackets can find a way to create offensive chances, it could be a very high scoring game for Columbus.
For the Islanders, only one key to victory is simply scoring more than the other team. That sounds simple and obvious but it’s deeper than you think. The Islanders, as mentioned before, can’t seem to keep the puck out of their net on a consistent basis.
Their scoring stars like Tavares, Bailey, Barzal and Eberle are going to need to score and score fast. This could be the story for the rest of the season as there is obviously nothing special happening on defense. In conclusion, score, score fast and score a lot. If you like goal scoring hockey, the New York Islanders are the team for you.
As for my prediction, I’m guessing it will be a high scoring game from two teams that are neck and neck for a playoff position. In this match, Eberle shines with the puck with help from his other scoring buddies in Tavares and Barzal. Columbus’s defense can’t keep up as the Islanders get off to a quick start. 5-2 final score in favor of the Islanders and they improve to 28 wins on the season.