The Blue Jackets needed a game like this, even beyond the two points they earned for the 4-0 victory over the New York Islanders before 15,667 at Nationwide Arena last night.

Two goals in each of the first two periods and another perfect outing by goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (31 saves) allowed the Blue Jackets to ease into one of the biggest weeks in franchise history.
Beginning on Tuesday with the home finale against Phoenix, the Blue Jackets will play their final four games in five days for the right to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs for only the second time in franchise history.

Last night’s third period was one of the rare periods in recent weeks that hasn’t been played in a pressure cooker. With a four-goal lead, the Jackets ran the clock and matched the Islanders’ physical play.

“It was nice to have the lead, to not be chewing fingernails right down to the bitter end,” center Mark Letestu said.
Added left winger Matt Calvert: “Emotionally it wasn’t quite the playoff atmosphere it’s been the last 10 or 12 games. Those do wear on you.

“It was two tired teams out there. Our power play got us the lead, and we just simplified from there on out.”
Letestu and Boone Jenner each had a goal and an assist, Brandon Dubinsky had two assists and blue-liners Jack Johnson and Ryan Murray also scored for the Blue Jackets, who had lost three straight at home.

The Islanders, beginning yet another rebuild, had 10 rookies in the lineup, and one could tell.

The Blue Jackets won 37 of 57 faceoffs, and coach Todd Richards rolled his forward lines and defensive pairs with great rhythm in the third period, conserving energy.

The most challenging task for the Blue Jackets was matching the Islanders’ physical play.

A total of 88 hits were accumulated — 48 by the Islanders, who chased the puck all night.

“They had a couple of guys who were trying to take some liberties with our guys,” Richards said. “They didn’t have anything to play for; there are no consequences.

“But it’s good to see our guys stand up for each other, to see the pride they have.”

Islanders heavyweight Matt Carkner (6 feet 5, 235 pounds) took double minor roughing penalties on Calvert and Letestu, who look like children standing next to him.