Evgeni Nabokov notched his 58th NHL career regular season shutout (he has seven playoff shutouts) as the New York Islanders frustrated the playoff-chasing Columbus Blue Jackets in front of an announced Sunday afternoon crowd of 15,008 at Nassau Coliseum. The 2-0 final score was almost ironic in itself, that being the margin of so many blown third-period leads this season, to the point that Islanders broadcasters Howie Rose and Butch Goring were speaking of the "dreaded" kind of lead at the very moment Travis Hamonic rushed the puck 170 feet to establish it in the final minute of the second period. Hamonic's goal doubled the lead started by Cal Clutterbuck, on a nifty top-corner shot from the slot after Johan Sundstrom had tried to stuff the puck after the dump-in. That was good for Sundstrom's first NHL point, a second assist before Frans Nielsen fought off a defender to leave the opening for Clutterbuck. Nabokov made 41 saves, 17 of them in the third period as the Islanders played prevent and actually, you know, prevented. For the Blue Jackets, who weren't sharp, it represents one of those disheartening failures in a "gotta have that" game against a weaker opponent. The Islanders, without some of their top forwards and top defenseman, iced a fleet of rookies that Columbus should have reasonably expected to beat.
Nabokov and Islanders shut the door on the Blue Jackets
Lighthouse Hockey | Mar 24