(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Islanders continue a four-game homestand on Saturday night seeking a fourth victory in a row as they battle the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Islanders have won four of their past five games and sit a point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division. They'll have a chance to extend that edge tonight as the Pens are idle before visiting the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon.
New York has taken the first two of its residency and avoided a letdown on Thursday with a 3-2 win over the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs. The Isles failed to hold a 2-0 lead, but got the game-winner from Anders Lee with 7:58 to play in the second period.
Lee also scored just 1:11 into the game and is tied for second among NHL rookies with 18 goals. His second tally came on a rebound as he collected the puck following a save of Travis Hamonic's long drive.
"When you have the determination to get to the front of the net, you're going to score a lot of goals," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said of Lee. "You go there and good things happen."
Casey Cizikas added a goal and Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves, while Hamonic has posted five assists over a four-game point streak.
Though the Islanders have lost five of their past seven versus the Blue Jackets, they took the most recent encounter 5-2 in Columbus on Jan. 10, the first of four meetings this season. Lee had a goal in that matchup.
The Isles are 4-0-2 in their past six home meetings with the Blue Jackets and figure to start Halak tonight. He is 8-4-1 lifetime versus Columbus with a 2.65 goals against average and .909 save percentage in 13 games.
The Blue Jackets hope to have something left in the tank tonight after rallying to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime on Friday night. Columbus came back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period before getting the winner from Artem Anisimov 2:17 into the extra frame.
Jared Boll got the third-period rally started as he scored to snap a 63-game goal drought and Cam Atkinson tied the contest with 4:40 to play in regulation.
"It feels good to contribute at that point of the game," said Boll. "We needed a goal, and I think everyone on the ice touched the puck to make it happen."
Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and an assist, while Curtis McElhinney posted 22 saves in Columbus' third victory in four games. It also marked the first time in 21 contests this season that the club picked up a victory when trailing after two periods (1-20-0).
Scott Hartnell extended his point streak to five straight games with an assist as Columbus sits 12 points back of a playoff spot. The Blue Jackets begin a five-game road trip tonight that next stops in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
McElhinney could start on back-to-back nights and is 2-1-0 with a 2.11 GAA and .925 save percentage in three previous meetings with the Islanders. That includes two starts and he also owns a shutout victory in this matchup.