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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).