The New York Islanders will aim for their third straight victory overall and second of the season against the host Blue Jackets on Friday when the Metropolitan Division rivals face off in Columbus.
Ilya Sorokin followed up making 30 saves in the Islanders’ 3-2 overtime win versus the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday by turning aside a career-high 49 shots two nights later in a 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Sorokin’s save total represented the third-most in a shutout in franchise history, behind Glenn Healy (51 on Jan. 16, 1990) and Jaroslav Halak (50 on Feb. 15, 2018).
“When you’re playing, you don’t think about how many shots,” said Sorokin, who stopped all 23 shots he faced in the third period to preserve his second shutout of the season.
“I (saw) after the game. It’s too many shots, but it was a good game for me (on Wednesday).”
On Nov. 12, Sorokin made 26 saves as New York posted its fourth straight win over Columbus with a 4-3 overtime victory. He is 2-0-1 with one shutout, a 1.98 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in three career meetings with the Blue Jackets.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau had an assist in the first encounter with Columbus to ignite his recent hot streak. He has six points (four goals, two assists) in his last six games, including a short-handed goal and a power-play marker in a span of 2:06 in the second period on Wednesday.
“It’s definitely fun to help the team offensively,” Pageau said. “I thought we showed up (Wednesday), and we came in and we knew we had a big challenge. We played with urgency for a full 60 (minutes).”
Mathew Barzal, who leads the team in assists (21) and points (23), also set up a goal in the previous meeting with the Blue Jackets. That began his current six-game point streak (two goals, six assists).
Like Pageau and Barzal, Columbus also enjoyed a nice six-game stretch (4-1-1) before dropping a 3-1 decision to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. Former Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard scored the go-ahead goal for Montreal at 3:35 of the third period.
“They got two good bounces — one ran up their stick, one went off a skate,” Columbus coach Brad Larsen said. “We got on our heels a bit. It was a pretty solid game all the way through. It’s too bad, because we’re playing a heck of a game. We weren’t giving up much at all. We had some good looks ourselves.”
Blue Jackets fourth-liner Mathieu Olivier opened the scoring early in the third period before the Canadiens answered with a pair of goals in 57 seconds.
“Two goals inside a minute, you never want that happening,” goaltender Joonas Korpisalo said. “Early in the game, we played really well. It (stinks).”
Korpisalo made a season-high 42 saves in his previous meeting with New York. He sports a 3-2-3 record with one shutout, a 2.77 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in nine career appearances (eight starts) versus the Islanders.