Preview: Blue Jackets at Islanders
A new division rivalry begins Saturday as the New York Islanders host the Columbus Blue Jackets in a battle between Metropolitan members. Columbus was shifted into a newly named division with New York as part of the NHL's realignment over the summer after spending its first 13 years of existence in the Western Conference's Central Division. The Islanders begin their penultimate season at the Nassau Coliseum as they prepare to move to Brooklyn for the 2015-16 campaign.
The Blue Jackets opened the season with a 4-3 home loss to the Calgary Flames on Friday. Marian Gaborik and defenseman Jack Johnson each recorded a goal and an assist as Columbus overcame a pair of one-goal deficits in the first period before allowing tallies 42 seconds apart midway through the third. New York posted a 4-3 shootout victory at the New Jersey Devils in its opener on Friday, with Michael Grabner scoring twice in regulation and Matt Moulson netting the lone goal of the bonus format in the sixth round.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Columbus), MSG Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (0-1-0): Defenseman Ryan Murray and center Boone Jenner made their NHL debuts Friday. Murray, the second overall pick of the 2012 draft, was minus-2 in 14:19 of ice time while Jenner, a second-round selection in 2011, registered two shots on goal in 10 1/2 minutes. Blue-liner Fedor Tyutin missed Friday's season opener with a lower-body injury suffered two days earlier in practice.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (1-0-0): Center Brock Nelson, a first-round pick in 2010 who appeared in one playoff game last campaign, registered two shots on goal and was minus-1 in 10:41 of ice time in his regular-season debut. Defenseman Matt Donovan, who appeared in three games in 2011-12, notched his first NHL point Friday with an assist on Frans Nielsen's goal. Grabner has scored two goals in two of his last seven games.
1. The Islanders have won four of the 14 all-time meetings but only posted one victory in regulation.
2. Each of the last three matchups in New York have been one-goal decisions.
3. New York enters with a four-game slide in home openers.
PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Blue Jackets 2