Game Preview: Columbus Has Short Homestand Against Islanders

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Columbus Blue Jackets are back in action tonight after back-to-back overtime losses on the road. The team was defeated by the Winnipeg Jets, 4-3 on March 25, and then suffered another overtime loss at the hands of Marc Andre-Fleury and the Minnesota Wild just one night later, with a final score of 3-2.

Columbus is looking to break a three-game losing streak tonight as the team comes home for one game before hitting the road again. The New York Islanders come to Nationwide Arena tonight, looking to avoid continuing their two-game losing streak.

The Islanders have had a busy March, beating dominant teams such as Dallas, the New York Rangers, and shutting out Columbus 6-0 on March 10. The Isles have had a disappointing season, to say the least, boasting a 28-27-9 record in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division. The team has been incredibly inconsistent and boasts a 3.70 GA/GP, 30th in the league.

For Columbus, the team is still missing some of its key players, including Zach Werenski, Boone Jenner, Alexander Texier, and Joonas Korpisalo. The Blue Jackets will have to utilize the players available but without the teams’ usual depth and experience. Another obstacle Columbus will have to overcome tonight is the loss of Head Coach Brad Larsen and Assistant Coach Steve McCarthy, as both have been placed in the league’s protocol.

On a more positive note, Elvis Merzlikins will start in net tonight for Columbus, Adam Boqvist will be playing, and tonight is a third jersey game, meaning one of the best third jerseys in the league will be on the ice. Merzlikins has given up seven goals in the past two games, but he did so without two of his best defensemen.

The Blue Jackets are also honoring The Ohio State University Women’s Ice Hockey team tonight, as the team defeated Minnesota Duluth 3-2 to win the program’s first National Championship on March 21. The puck drops at 7 PM tonight at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.