Islanders-Blue Jackets Preview

The Associated Press

While it's been another forgettable season for the New York Islanders, they came out with an impressive display in their home finale.

The NHL-worst Columbus Blue Jackets are hoping to do the same.

The Islanders try for just their second win in eight visits to Columbus as the teams conclude their seasons Saturday night.

New York (34-36-11) snapped a three-game skid with Thursday's 5-4 win over Winnipeg. The Islanders blew leads of 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3 before Michael Grabner scored his second goal of the third period with 47 seconds remaining.

"It was a good game to end the (home) season with," said Kyle Okposo, who also scored twice. "Of course it wasn't the season we wanted to have. But at least we played well and dominated a good part of the game."

While the Islanders finished 17-18-6 at home for the third time in four seasons, they are 17-18-5 on the road - their best mark since going 18-17-6 and making their most recent postseason appearance in 2006-07.

"We should've been a lot better at home," coach Jack Capuano said. "We were good on the road but not good enough at home. Our mission going into next season has to be to get better every day."

New York, which has won four of six on the road, was 0-4-1 with one tie at Nationwide Arena before pulling out a 4-3 overtime win March 27, 2010.

With 63 points, Columbus (28-46-7) is assured of finishing with the third-fewest in franchise history. The Blue Jackets, though, are 4-1-0 in their last five games.

Rookie Cam Atkinson posted his first career hat trick and captain Rick Nash scored twice as Columbus eliminated Colorado from postseason contention with Thursday's 5-2 road victory.

"I think there's a lot of things that have motivated our team over the last month or so," interim coach Todd Richards said. "We've been playing some good hockey, we've been playing some hard hockey against teams that have been really desperate.

"I like to think the guys are starting to have fun and they're starting to play for each other."

Atkinson has seven points over the last five games.

"I'm definitely getting a little more confidence as each game comes along, but I'm playing with some pretty good players that have helped me along the way," he said. "It would be nice to finish the season off on a high note."

Columbus could be short-handed Saturday with Nash uncertain to play due to a back injury.

Steve Mason returned following a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury and made 35 saves Thursday. Mason is 3-3-0 with a 3.67 goals-against average over his last six home starts, allowing five goals in three of those contests.

Mason is 1-0-1 with a 0.96 GAA versus the Islanders but hasn't faced them since December 2009.

New York's John Tavares notched two assists against the Jets for his team-leading 80th and 81st points. He is the first Islander to reach 80 since Ziggy Palffy recorded 87 in 1997-98.

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