Preview: St. Louis at NY Islanders
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, December 4, 2015
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
The New York Islanders look to ride the momentum of a spirited victory over a bitter rival when they conclude their three-game homestand against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. Captain John Tavares scored in regulation and Jaroslav Halak denied all three attempts in the shootout as the Islanders posted their third straight win on Wednesday with a 2-1 shootout triumph over the Metropolitan Division-rival New York Rangers.
“It’s a big win. … I’m glad we were able to get the two points and certainly have our fans waking up strutting their step,” Tavares said. “… It’s important not to have any letdown after this. We obviously have a tough weekend coming up.” While the Islanders have rebounded following a 4-6-2 stretch to go 4-0-1 in their last five, St. Louis has alternated wins and losses over its last eight contests. Captain David Backes scored his team’s lone goal in a 3-1 setback to Florida on Tuesday, but has just one tally in 11 career meetings with New York.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), MSG-Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE BLUES (15-7-3): Alex Steen was held off the scoresheet versus the Panthers, but continued his success against the Islanders by scoring a goal in a 3-2 overtime loss on Oct. 24. Steen has recorded 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 18 career meetings with New York, a positive sign for St. Louis considering stud forward Vladimir Tarasenko has been plagued by an illness. Jori Lehtera, who has three points in 15 games, is being shuffled from center to left wing for Friday’s contest.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (14-8-4): Tavares has torched the Blues with goals in three straight meetings and seven with four assists in 11 career encounters. Kyle Okposo, who had an assist and scored the shootout-winning goal on Wednesday, tallied in his last meeting with St. Louis. Halak, who missed New York’s first meeting with the Blues, is expected to get the nod to face the team with which he spent parts of four seasons.
1. New York owns a 4-1-1 mark versus Central Division representatives this season.
2. St. Louis has won five of the last six contests in the series.
3. The Islanders have scored four power-play goals in their last three games after going 1-for-25 in the previous eight contests.
PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Blues 2