COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thomas Greiss stopped 31 shots for his fourth shutout of the season and the New York Islanders beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 on Thursday night.
Casey Cizikas scored twice on breakaways and Josh Bailey also had a goal for the Islanders, who cruised to their fifth win in the last seven games.
Greiss was outstanding in getting his 12th career shutout and the Islanders defenders showed why they are tops in the NHL in keeping opponents’ pucks out of their net. New York, which began the night three points ahead of Washington atop the Metropolitan Division, snapped the Blue Jackets’ four-game win streak.
Sergei Bobrovsky had 24 saves for the Blue Jackets, who is tied with Pittsburgh with 67 points but holds third place in the Metropolitan due to a game in hand. The game was a letdown for Columbus, which seemed to have momentum after shutting out the Capitals by the same score on Tuesday.
The Blue Jackets certainly had opportunities, but Greiss wasn’t having any of it. He improved to 17-8-2 while splitting time this season with Robin Lehner (17-9-4). Greiss now has three shutouts in his last five starts, and lowered his goals-against average to 2.18 — second in the NHL to Lehner’s 2.08.
The first period ended with a 1-0 Islanders lead, thanks to Cizikas’ breakaway, set up by a stretch pass from Cal Clutterbuck 7:06 into the game.
Later, Columbus’ Josh Anderson got his own breakaway from the blue line but Greiss kept it out. Anderson broke away again later in the period but shot right at the goalie.
Cizikas got behind the defence again after a Columbus turnover and beat Bobrovsky between the pads to give New York a 2-0 lead at 5:50 of the second.
Bailey found an open net after a rebound left Bobrovsky out of position with 41 seconds left in the second to extend the lead.
New York has allowed just 136 goals, best in the NHL.
NOTES: New York’s Anders Lee played his 400th career NHL game, all with the Islanders. … Columbus F Brandon Dubinsky missed his fifth game with a hip injury. He is day-to-day. … The Islanders 10-2-2 in their last 14 games. … Columbus has killed 41 of 42 penalties dating back to Dec. 31.
New York: Hosts Edmonton in the regular season finale at Barclays Center on Saturday night.
Columbus: At Chicago on Saturday night.
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Mitch Stacy, The Associated Press