Joe probably said it best when he tabbed tonight’s game as a possible “trap game” for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The hapless New York Islanders gave them a serious scare, managing to gain a brief 3-2 lead and pushing the red-hot Blue Jackets to overtime. Ultimately, though, the story remained the same: Columbus stayed hot while the Long Island gang remains without a precious “W.”
The Islanders are now dangerously close to that 17 game losing streak we discussed before, as they’ve gone 14 games without a win.
Once again, Rick DiPietro kept his team in the game but couldn’t win it in overtime. He stopped 34 out of 38 shots, but couldn’t nab that final Jakub Voracek attempt in extra time.
Mathieu Garon continued to be the best backup this side of Brent Johnson, improving his 2010-11 record to 6-1 while allowing three goals, tied for the most he allowed all season long.
The best sign for the Blue Jackets might be that they won without a great performance by Rick Nash, who was held off the scoreboard and had a -2 rating. Instead, they scored by committee, with R.J. Umberger and Antoine Vermette leading the way with a goal and an assist each. Trent Hunter was arguably the best skater for the Islanders, also earning a goal and an assist.
The Red Wings still hold a marginal lead (really just a game in hand) on the Blue Jackets, but they are absolutely nipping at Detroit’s heels. The Central Division leaders dropped a 5-1 game to the Atlanta Thrashers, so their lead is razor thin as the two teams ready for a big (at least, at this point in this season) home-and-home series.