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Game Preview: Islanders at Blues

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
Five days after losing to the St. Louis Blues at home, the New York Islanders get a chance to make amends on the road, as they take on the Blues at 8 p.m. at Scottrade Center.


The Islanders lost a pair of leads in the 6-4 loss to the Blues on Saturday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum. The loss is still fresh in their minds, which is all the motivation they need for a grudge match in Missouri.

“We’re not very happy with the way we played,” Matt Martin said. “We’re not happy with the way we responded to their push. They were physical, fast, they were moving their feet and getting pucks on net. They were really doing everything we need to do to be successful. They beat us at our own game a bit.”

Martin and the Islanders are coming off a similar loss Tuesday night in Minnesota, where the Islanders saw a three-goal lead disappear in the third period. Head Coach Jack Capuano said his team needs to defend harder if they want to reverse the trend and pick up two points against a tough Western Conference foe.

“There’s a correlation in those two games,” Capuano said. “[Defending] around our net and our puck management decisions have to be better. That’s really where we got ourselves in trouble. I think they saw enough [in their meetings]. As a group, the conversations that we had, they know there are certain areas we have to be better in.”

One of those aspects is the penalty kill, although prevention is the best defense. Capuano said undisciplined penalties helped breathe life back into the Blues and the Wild, so staying out of the box will be paramount.

The positive take away from the two losses is the Islanders offensive output. The team has eight goals in two games, scoring four times apiece. The Islanders are 15-3-0 when scoring at least three goals (including shootout winners), so if the offense stays hot, the wins should follow. The production has been spread throughout the lineup as well, as the second, third and fourth lines scored against the Wild, as did the top power-play unit.

The Islanders will also get another crack at Blues starter Jake Allen, whom they scored three first-period goals on during Saturday’s contest. Jaroslav Halak (upper body) did not play on Tuesday night and will have his status updated later today.

On the other side of the puck, the Blues are looking for their third straight win, having bested the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Monday. Vladimir Tarasenko continues to score for the Blues and is riding a three-game point streak (three goals, one assist). Paul Stastny has three goals in his last two games, while Kevin Shattenkirk had a three-point night (one goal, two assists) against the Islanders on Saturday and is the Blues top offensive defenseman this season.

The Islanders path to redemption begins at the Gateway to the West. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. eastern time.

New York Islanders
19-9-0 (38 points – 2nd in Metropolitan Division, T-2nd in Eastern Conference)
9-6-0 road
St. Louis Blues
18-8-2 (38 points - T-2nd in Central Division, T-3rd in Western Conference)
10-3-1 home
8:00 p.m.
Scottrade Center

St. Louis, MO

Television:
MSG+
Play-by-play: Howie Rose
; Color: Butch Goring
Channel Finder

Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King; Color: Greg Picker
Islanders News:
- Wild 5, Islanders 4 (Dec. 9)
- MSG Post-Game Reaction (Dec. 9)
Islanders player to watch
Michael Grabner - Forward

Michael Grabner has two goals in three games since returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out of the lineup for the Islanders first 25 games.  Grabner has scored in two straight games and is also back in a penalty-killing role, but Head Coach Jack Capuano said he wants to see more physicality out of the 6’1, 202 lbs. winger.
Blues player to watch
Kevin Shattenkirk - Defenseman

Kevin Shattenkirk’s three-point game (one goal, two assists) against the Islanders on Saturday tied a season high. The former Boston University Terrier leads all Blues blueliners with 22 points (three goals, 19 assists) this season. Shattenkirk has a heavy shot and quarterbacks the Blues power play, averaging 3:39 PP TOI per game.
New York Islanders previous game lines
Forwards
86 Nikolay Kulemin
91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
84 Mikhail Grabovski – 51 Frans Nielsen12 Josh Bailey
40 Michael Grabner 29 Brock Nelson 27 Anders Lee
17 Matt Martin
18 Ryan Strome 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Defensemen

2 Nick Leddy 37 Brian Strait
44 Calvin de Haan
8 Griffin Reinhart
14 Thomas Hickey 11 Lubomir Visnovsky

Goaltenders
30 Chad Johnson
41 Jaroslav Halak
St. Louis Blues previous game lines
Forwards
21 Patrik Berglund - 42 David Backes - 74 T.J. Oshie
17 Jaden Schwartz - 12 Jori Lehtera - 91 Vladimir Tarasenko
9 Steve Ott - 26 Paul Stastny - 10 Joakim Lindstrom
32 Chris Porter - 40 Maxim Lapierre - 75 Ryan Reaves

Defensemen
25 Chris Butler - 27 Alex Pietrangelo
48 Petteri Lindbohm - 22 Kevin Shattenkirk
5 Barret Jackman - 28 Ian Cole

Goaltender
34 Jake Allen
30 Martin Brodeur


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