Preview: Blues at Islanders
The New York Islanders wiped the slate clean before their last game and look to build off that solid performance when they host the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues on Monday afternoon. The Islanders stumbled out of the gate with three losses in four games before grinding out a 3-2 shootout victory over Florida on Saturday, which brought back memories of their successful 2018-19 season.
“We had a meeting and said, ‘Hey, we have to stay with it. Let’s get back to what we’re doing,’” New York coach Barry Trotz told reporters after the win. “We didn’t focus on the outcome. We just focused on the process, and we have to get back to playing our way. We didn’t have any passengers. It was a team win.” The Islanders will face another major test when they take on the Blues, who suffered their first regulation loss of the season Saturday by giving up the game’s final four goals - three in the third period - in a 6-3 loss at Montreal. “We didn’t bring out our best effort in the third,” St. Louis' Brayden Schenn, who tops the team with four goals this season, told reporters. “We turned over pucks, and I think they just wanted it more than us in the third.” Reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly was kept off the scoresheet Saturday but leads the Blues with seven points - including four in Thursday’s 6-4 win at Ottawa.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FS Midwest (St. Louis), MSG Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE BLUES (3-1-1): Promising 23-year-old left wing Sammy Blais scored his third goal in five games to open the season on Saturday, but St. Louis still is awaiting the first from Vladimir Tarasenko (four assists) after the right wing averaged 36.4 over his previous five seasons. Captain Alex Pietrangelo has scored twice while adding an assist and leads the team with 16 shots. Jordan Binnington (2-1-1, .910 save percentage) surrendered five goals on Saturday - the highest total he has allowed in regular-season play during his brief career - and lost in overtime to the Islanders last campaign after stopping 23-of-25 shots.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (2-3-0): New York has been balanced offensively, with Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson (team-high 18 shots) and captain Anders Lee each recording a pair of goals. Jordan Eberle left Saturday’s game late in the third period with a lower-body injury and his status is uncertain for Monday while Casey Cizikas has missed two straight contests with a lower-body ailment. Semyon Varlamov registered his first win as an Islander with a 35-save performance against Florida, prompting Lee to tell reporters: “They had a great push, put us up against the wall a little bit, and then again in the shootout. (Varlamov) standing tall was huge.”
1. Blues LW David Perron has matched Blais with three goals and a team-best plus-4 rating through five games.
2. Islanders D Nick Leddy played 18 minutes, 27 seconds on Saturday after missing one game with an undisclosed injury.
3. New York has won each of the last three meetings and is 6-1-1 in the last eight matchups.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Islanders 2