COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Columbus took a three-goal lead in the first period Thursday night, but Josh Bailey and the New York Islanders weren’t going to go quietly.
The Islanders surged back to tie the game in the second period and trailed by only one for most of the third, but the Blue Jackets held on for a 6-4 win. Bailey got the first hat trick of his career in the losing effort.
“It’s tough to come back and win hockey games when you get down by that much,” Bailey said. “We battled, found a way to get our legs going and compete the rest of the way and make it close, but it was just frustrating the way we let it get away.”
Zach Werenski had a goal and an assist, and Sergei Bobrovsky knocked down 21 shots for the Blue Jackets, who were eager to shake off a demoralizing 7-2 loss to Edmonton on Tuesday.
Markus Nutivaara, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Seth Jones, Nick Foligno and Josh Anderson also scored for the Blue Jackets, and Oliver Bjorkstrand had three assists.
Columbus (20-11-1) has won 11 of its last 15 and is in a knot of teams battling for supremacy in the tough Metropolitan Division.
“I thought we handled ourselves well,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “That’s a good win coming off a bit of a nightmare the game before.”
The Islanders (17-12-3) were a point behind Columbus and Washington coming into the game, but the Blue Jackets found various ways to beat Thomas Greiss, who finished the game with 29 saves.
New York tied the score 3-3 in the second period, and trailed 5-4 for nearly 13 minutes of the third until the Blue Jackets scored an empty-net goal with 1 second remaining.
“We shouldn’t have allowed them back in the game with a 3-0 lead, but things happen,” said Foligno, whose goal at the end of the second periodwas his 100th with the franchise. “It’s a good team over there. I’m really proud of the way we found a way to battle back and get a huge win and really gut one out at the end.”
The Columbus top line of Dubois, Anderson and Artemi Panarin continued to lead the way. Panarin had two assists, including a masterful cross-ice feed on Werenski’s goal . The line has 12 goals and 11 assists in the last dozen games.
Casey Cizikas also scored for New York, and John Tavares had two assists for the Islanders, who have lost six of their last eight games.
“We have some guys who are passengers right now,” New York coach Doug Weight said. “It’s just not good.”
NOTES: Columbus C Brandon Dubinsky was put on injured reserve after a punch from Edmonton’s Zack Kassian broke the bone under his left eye on Tuesday night. He’s expected to miss about two months. F Jordan Schroeder was called up from Cleveland (AHL) to replace him. … D Jack Johnson played his 400th game with the Blue Jackets. … Islanders D Thomas Hickey missed his third game with an injury. … Columbus has won the past four games against the Islanders by a combined score of 24-6. … Columbus has scored the first goal in 12 of the past 19 games. … Bailey has three goals and four assists in the last four games.
New York: Hosts Dallas on Wednesday.
Columbus: Plays at Carolina on Saturday.