NEW YORK (AP) — Nikolay Kulemin scored a goal and helped create another, and the New York Islanders chased All-Star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
The Islanders are 3-0-1 under interim coach Doug Weight a week after Jack Capuano was fired, ending his 6 1/2-season tenure.
Thomas Greiss made 21 saves and improved to 10-3-3 over his past 16 starts.
Kulemin put New York ahead late in the second period and created space in front for Josh Bailey’s 100th NHL goal earlier in the period. Jason Chimera got his fifth goal in seven games, and Brock Nelson also scored for the Islanders. John Tavares had two assists.
Nick Foligno had an early score for Columbus, and Cam Atkinson got his 24th goal late.
The Blue Jackets failed to respond after coach John Tortorella questioned his club’s recent effort earlier in the day. Columbus entered two points behind Washington for first place in the rugged Metropolitan Division, but is just 5-6-0 since a 16-game winning streak.
Bobrovsky stopped 20 of 24 shots before being lifted for Joonas Korpisalo.
The Islanders are still talking about making the postseason as the All-Star break approaches, even as they try to climb out of the basement. New York entered tied for last in the Eastern Conference, but it was just five points out of the final wild-card spot and has games in hand on nearly the entire conference.
Columbus dominated possession early but had only three shots on goal in the first 8 1/2 minutes before Foligno’s goal. The Blue Jackets’ captain was posted in front of Greiss when Ryan Murray shot from the point. The attempt was redirected by Alexander Wennberg, then bounced off Greiss and Foligno before trickling over the goal line.
New York threatened during a power play late in the first period but was otherwise muffled during a sleepy first period. The Isles had just two shots on goal in the first 12 minutes.
Bailey pulled the Islanders even 2:21 into the second. With Kulemin battling All-Star Seth Jones atop the crease, Bailey smacked the puck toward net from beneath the right faceoff dot. The puck banked off Jones’ skate – though Kulemin’s stick was right there – and slid past Bobrovsky.
Kulemin then found the rebound from Calvin de Haan’s point shot and backhanded it past a screened Bobrovsky for a 2-1 lead late in the second.
Nelson added to the lead 35 seconds into the third, snapping a shot from atop the right circle that beat Bobrovsky’s glove to the top right corner. Chimera scored from almost the same spot five minutes later, ending Bobrovsky’s night.
Chimera also got in a fight with rookie Lukas Sedlak. Chimera has 10 goals in 46 games after signing a two-year free agent contract with New York last summer.
Atkinson scored on a snap shot with 5:21 remaining.
NOTES: Wennberg’s assist on Foligno’s goal was his 100th NHL point. … Islanders F Anders Lee was a late scratch because of an illness. … Islanders F Andrew Ladd returned after missing four games with an upper-body injury. … New York F Anthony Beauvillier sat out after getting injured blocking a shot Sunday. … Columbus Ds Markus Nutivaara and David Savard were scratched and both were day to day with undisclosed injuries.
Blue Jackets: Head south to face Nashville on Thursday night before returning to New York after the All-Star break to play the Rangers next Tuesday night.
Islanders: Close out January against the Eastern Conference division leaders, hosting Montreal on Thursday night and then Washington next Tuesday night.