Islanders hand Blue Jackets painful, frustrating loss

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The Columbus Blue Jackets added some major firepower during the trade deadline, but for the most part, those additions haven’t really paid off.

Columbus fired 31 shots on goal on Monday, but none of them beat Thomas Greiss, as the New York Islanders won 2-0. This marks the second time in three games that the Blue Jackets have been shut out, and the third time they’ve been blanked since the trade deadline.

Again, it’s tough to knock the general effort levels of the Blue Jackets.

Matt Duchene‘s likely going to absorb more jokes about being a “curse,” and with just an assist in his last six games, he hasn’t necessarily been the shot-in-the-arm Columbus was expecting. Still, he fired four SOG in this game alone, so it’s not as though Duchene was just going through the motions.

This wasn’t a case of Sergei Bobrovsky dropping the ball, either. He only allowed a booming Ryan Pulock goal in this one, as the other Islanders goal was an empty-netter.

Unfortunately, moral victories are only going to carry so much weight for Columbus right now.

While the Islanders moved within two points of the top spot in the Metro Division, the Blue Jackets failed to increase their breathing room in front of the idle Montreal Canadiens for the East’s second wild-card spot. They’ll finish Monday in playoff position, but the margin for error looks razor-thin:

WC 2: Blue Jackets: 38-28-3, 79 points, 69 games played, 37 regulation/OT wins

Ninth: Canadiens: 36-36-7, 79 points, 34 ROW

(The Flyers aren’t totally out of things with 76 points in 69 GP, while the Hurricanes and Penguins stand two points ahead of Columbus for the third Metro spot and first wild-card position, respectively.)

It’s not totally fair to throw the Blue Jackets under the bus here. For the most part, they’re putting forth the types of efforts that eventually pay off with wins, or at least “charity points.” Yet, that’s the downside when it comes to going for broke, particularly in the compressed time schedule of trade deadline time. Things can go sideways in a small sample size of games, which means that you run the risk of falling victim to great performances, such as Greiss’ shutout on Monday.

The Blue Jackets aren’t hopeless, but deep down, they have to be feeling pretty nervous.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.