Barzal and Horvat Lead the Islanders to a 7-3 Win vs the Blue Jackets

December 8, 2023

NEW YORK — Mathew Barzal had two goals and two assists, Bo Horvat also scored twice and picked up an assist, and the New York Islanders beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-3 on Thursday night.

Pierre Engvall, Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Palmieri also scored for New York, which extended its point streak to four games (3-0-1). Semyon Varlamov finished with 32 saves in his first win at home this season.

“We did a good job of sticking with our game,” Horvat said. “We didn’t have any panic. You would think after last game it might be on the back of our minds. … We can’t be sitting on our heels, letting them come at us. We did a good job of turning pucks up quick and playing in the offensive zone. I think that helped us out a lot tonight and Varlamov obviously made some huge saves to back us up.”

Adam Fantilli scored twice and added an assist for the Blue Jackets, who lost their third straight. Emil Bremstrom also scored and Spencer Martin made 28 saves.

New York Islanders left wing Pierre Engvall (18) shoots against Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Spencer Martin (30) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Elmont, N.Y., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)

Columbus pulled within one early in the third period when Fantilli scored his second of the game at 1:27.

The Islanders have squandered third-period leads 11 times in nine games this season (3-1-5), including a 5-4 overtime loss Tuesday to San Jose. But they responded Thursday and scored three consecutive goals after Fantilli’s second to stretch their lead to 7-3 and ease nerves on the bench.

“We would love to have third periods like that all the time,” captain Anders Lee said. “It was more execution, too. We kept our foot on the gas and just kept going after them.”

Barzal buried a pass from Horvat at 5:33 and then Horvat scored two of his own to seal it.

“Our forward group can play with anybody and outscore anybody,” Barzal said. “Somebody has to let the doors open and let us go a little bit. We did that tonight.”

New York got three goals in 4:49 late in the second period to open a 4-2 lead.

Barzal gave New York a 3-2 advantage when he corralled a loose puck and beat a sliding Martin at 18:51. Palmieri then finished a tic-tac-toe passing sequence at the back post for an easy tap-in goal on the power play in the final minute of the period.

“We feel like we can score and we want to attack,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “We want to play on our toes. When you get your special teams going and your power play going it helps with that.”

New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) is defended by Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Emil Bemstrom (52) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Elmont, N.Y., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)

Clutterbuck tied it at 2 with his fourth of the season. Hudson Fasching made a spinning pass from the boards and found the Islanders alternate captain all alone in front.

Fantilli connected on a one-timer off a pass from Kent Johnson to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 edge at 10:11 of the second. Columbus selected the 19-year-old Fantilli with the third pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

“A couple of breakdowns, a couple of bad bounces,” Fantilli said. “I thought for the most part of that game we were playing really well, we were playing our best. A couple of breakdowns ended up in the back of our net.”


It was the first time in NHL history that four players from the University of Michigan (Nick Blakenburg, Fantilli, Johnson, Zach Werenski) played on the same team — and all four were on the ice for Bremstrom’s fourth goal of the season.


The Islanders announced that two public pond hockey rinks will open later this month on the grounds of Belmont Park adjacent to UBS Arena. The rinks will host 4-on-4 pond hockey tournaments and instructional programs.


Blue Jackets: Host the St. Louis Blues on Friday.

Islanders: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.



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