Series (Game 1 of 1)

Columbus leads 1-0

Game 1: Saturday, November 22nd
Blue Jackets2

Islanders 1

(9-8-0, 20 pts)

Blue Jackets 2

(7-10-1, 17 pts)

7:00 PM ET, November 22, 2003

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 T
NYI 0 0 11
CBJ 0 2 02

F. Brathwaite (Blue Jackets - G): Saves: 24, Save Pct.: .960

T. Letowski (Blue Jackets - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Nash leads Columbus to 2-1 win

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Fred Brathwaite made sure the Columbus Blue Jackets didn't miss starting goaltender Marc Denis.

With Denis sidelined because of the flu, Brathwaite made 24 saves and improved to 5-0 against the Islanders as the Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 2-1 Saturday night.

Brathwaite missed his first shutout by 41 seconds, but both he and the Blue Jackets have never lost to the Islanders.

Rick Nash scored his 12th goal midway through the second period and won a key faceoff in the victory.

"You always want to get a shutout," Brathwaite said. "For some funny reason, when I play the Islanders I seem to play pretty well. A shutout would have been nice but a win is just as nice, that's for sure."

Brathwaite was signed by Columbus as a free agent in the offseason.

With the Islanders' goalie pulled for the extra skater, Oleg Kvasha jammed a loose puck in, but it was too late.

"I didn't see the little things, especially in the first period," said Islanders coach Steve Stirling. "The passes were off a little, which made it more difficult."

New York has lost two straight and has just two wins in seven games.

"It was a real sound performance by Fred Brathwaite," Columbus coach Doug MacLean said. "It was just an all around good game when people finish their checks and do all the little things and that was really encouraging.

Columbus has won two straight following a five-game winless streak. Both victories have come at home where the Blue Jackets are 7-3-1 and play six of their next eight.

Nash thinks the Blue Jackets' mood has changed.

"It's changed a lot," he said. "On the other hand, we've only won two games. It's not that big of a deal. We still have a ton of more work to do. No one's getting ahead of themselves in here."

Trevor Letowski tipped a loose puck ahead to Nash, who skated in alone from center ice and beat Rick DiPietro with a close-range chip shot at 9:04 to make it 1-0.

"A breakaway is pretty much 50-50, and luckily enough it went my way tonight," Nash said.

New York seemed to take control moments earlier, but Kvasha couldn't convert on a tip-in play, and Mark Parrish's shot hit the post.

"I saw a little jump, a little flurry there in the second period," Stirling said. "Then we give up a real bad goal and that doesn't help us. You can't give up a goal at the end (of the period)."

Todd Marchant made it 2-0, redirecting a point shot from Jaroslav Spacek with 0.9 seconds left in the second period. Nash won the faceoff to Geoff Sanderson, who fed Spacek.

"It's nice to come in here and play in front of the guys with the way they're playing right now," Brathwaite said. " Tonight, there may have been three of four tough scoring chances and that was about it."

Game notes

Manny Malhotra, claimed off waivers Friday from Dallas, played his first game for Columbus and centered the fourth line. Malhotra was the New York Rangers' first-round pick (seventh overall) in 1998. ... The Islanders, who entered with the best penalty-killing unit in the NHL, killed all five of Columbus' power plays. New York finished 0-for-6 on the power play. ... The shots were only 11-10 in favor of Columbus midway through. Columbus outshot New York 29-25 for the game. ... The Islanders have only two road wins this season in 10 tries (2-6-2).

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press