NEW YORK (AP) — Cam Atkinson scored 1 minute, 19 seconds into overtime Saturday to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders.
Oliver Bjorkstrand and Josh Anderson scored 14 minutes, 48 seconds apart in the second period for Columbus, which won for the seventh time in March and improved to 46-18-6.
Travis Hamonic and John Tavares scored for New York, which dropped to 33-26-12 with its fourth loss in five games.
This was the regular-season series finale for the Metropolitan Division rivals. When play began Saturday, the Islanders and Tampa Bay trailed Toronto by one point for the final Eastern Conference wild card berth.
With the overtime loss, New York passed Toronto for the second wild-card position, but the Maple Leafs and Lightning play later.
Before the game, Columbus coach John Tortorella said his team was prepared for New York to attack with heavy pressure. Instead, Columbus outshot New York, 38-22 and controlled much of the game.
Hamonic put New York ahead 1-0 with a slap shot at 14:18 of the first period. It was his first goal since Oct. 30 and his third of the season.
That Hamonic was in position to give the Islanders a lead was due in part to the play of goaltender Thomas Griess, who made 12 of his 36 saves in the first period.
But there was nothing Griess could do on Bjorkstand’s tying goal a minute into the second period. The rookie right wing picked up the puck inside the blue line after New York defenseman Dennis Seidenberg lost it as he fell. He snapped a shot for his sixth goal of the season, over Griess’ glove from the right faceoff dot.
The Blue Jackets went ahead 14:48 later on Anderson’s 16th of the season. Anderson drove to the slot and one-timed a Nick Foligno feed as Brandon Dubinsky provided a screen.
Columbus’ lead lasted until 8:48 of the third period when Tavares’s shot from inside the blue line eluded Joonas Korpisalo. Korpisalo finished with 20 saves on 22 shots.
The game remained tied until Atkinson poked Dubinsky’s pass into the net for the winner.
NOTES: Despite entering the day in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 96 points, Tortorella stressed he did not view the Blue Jackets’ third playoff berth in franchise was a mere formality. “It’s a very dangerous situation when you think that you’re there,” Tortorella said before the game. “And we’re not. We haven’t clinched anything. No one has told me we’re in the playoffs.” With 12 games left in their 2016-17 regular season, the Blue Jackets have set franchise records for wins (45) and points (96). .Tortorella had D Scott Harrington dress in place of Markus Nutivaara. LW Lauri Korpikoski and C Lukas Sedlak were also scratched, while D Ryan Murray missed his third straight game with a broken hand. . Islanders interim coach Doug Weight announced C Casey Cizikas would dress in place of RW Stephen Gionta. Cizikas had missed 11 games with a lower body injury. LW Anthony Beauvillier replaced C Alan Quine and D Scott Mayfield played in place of D Thomas Hickey. D Johnny Boychuk missed his eighth straight game and LW Shane Prince sat out his sixth straight game, both with a lower body injuries.
Blue Jackets: Visit the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
Islanders: Off until Wednesday when they cross town to face the New York Rangers.