COLUMBUS, Ohio — After all these years, which featured some dry spots, Josh Bailey would have been justified if he proudly relished the fact that he was the best in the NHL in anything, especially a respected statistic. That just would not be him, though. In fact, the only reason he even knew that he was tied for first in assists after Wednesday night was, he said, “Because somebody told me about it.”
That is to say, it was no big deal that he entered Thursday among four at the top with 30 assists. “It’s nice, but at the same time, it’s only 31 games in,” he said before the Islanders played the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. “I’m not really focused on that sort of thing anyhow. I just want to go out and play well and help the team win games.”
Nor would he acknowledge being known for passing is pretty cool, inasmuch as it denotes unselfishness as well as skill. The winger who skates alongside John Tavares and Anders Lee said, “Obviously, I play with two great goal scorers, so a lot of the credit goes to them.”
Bailey flipped the script Thursday night. He scored twice in the second period as the Islanders rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie it at 3. Then he scored on a power-play in the third period for his first career hat trick. Tavares had the primary assist on all three goals.
Dubinsky injured in fight
Entering Thursday, the Islanders had only three fights all season, which might be just as well. Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky got into a fight at the end of his team’s one-sided loss to the Oilers Tuesday and was hit so hard by Zack Kassian that he suffered a broken orbital bone near his eye and could be out two months.
Great call, Butch
Both the Islanders and Blue Jackets were coming off unsightly defeats. Columbus coach John Tortorella, when asked about the video of the 7-2 home loss Tuesday to Edmonton, said, “We threw it away.” The Islanders, on the other hand, studied their 5-2 home defeat Wednesday to the Stars. When Butch Goring asked Doug Weight if he had seen the tape, the coach told the broadcaster, “I watched the entire game. You sounded great, Butch.”