UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thomas Greiss made 31 saves in his fifth shutout of the season, helping the New York Islanders beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 on Monday night.
Ryan Pulock and Anders Lee scored as New York (40-22-7) improved its playoff positioning in the tough Metropolitan Division. The Islanders improved to 16-8-1 against divisional opponents.
Columbus (38-28-3) lost for the fourth time in six games, dropping into a tie with Montreal for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Sergei Bobrovsky made 18 saves, but the Blue Jackets were unable to get to the steady Greiss.
Pulock put the Islanders in front when he drove a slap shot by Bobrovsky 6:11 into the first. Pulock surpassed his point total from his rookie year, registering his 33rd point of his sophomore season.
Cal Clutterbuck assisted on the play in his first game back since being sidelined for three games with a minor upper-body injury.
Adam Pelech recorded the secondary assist with a hustle play along the blue line to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Pelech won a foot race to the puck, and then made a slick pass to Clutterbuck.
Early in the second period, Josh Anderson and Casey Cizikas received matching roughing minors after the Blue Jackets forward delivered a late check into the boards on a delayed offside. Anderson was also penalized earlier in the game for an illegal hit on Clutterbuck late in the first.
The Blue Jackets’ best offensive chance came in the middle frame when Cam Atkinson rang a wrist shot off the post. Columbus also came up empty on three power-play opportunities.
Lee added an empty-netter at 18:30 of the final period.
New York got a must-needed win to keep pace with the surging Washington Capitals, who are 9-1 in their last 10 games and have overtaken the Islanders for the Metropolitan Division lead. The Isles are just two points back with 13 games left in the regular season. They’ll finish the season on April 6 in Washington, in a game that may determine the race.
Islanders D Johnny Boychuk did not play after being injured on an illegal check from Flyers F Jakub Voracek in Saturday’s game. Islanders G Robin Lehner has participated in on-ice work the past two days after sustaining an injury from a collision, but remains day to day.
The Islanders host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)