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Preview: Islanders vs. Blues

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (14-8-4) VS. ST. LOUIS BLUES (15-7-3)

7:30 P.M. BARCLAYS CENTER, MSG+, CHANNEL FINDERWNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM, BUY TICKETS - BROOKLYN PRIDE NIGHT

FIVE THINGS:


1.  Life After Rangers: After an emotionally-charged 2-1 shootout win over the New York Rangers Wednesday, the New York Islanders set their sights on the St. Louis Blues. It’s a long season and the Islanders know they can’t get too high after beating their archrivals. 

“It was a huge two points,” Jaroslav Halak said on Wednesday. “We need to enjoy it tonight and get back to work. We have huge games coming up, starting with a back-to-back. We need to prepare for those.”

2. Who’s In Goal?: With back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, the Islanders will likely use both of their goaltenders over the weekend. Jack Capuano did not name a starter for Friday’s game, but the Islanders are in good hands either way. Halak (7-4-2, 1.93 GAA, .926 SV%) leads all eligible starting goalies in goals-against average and is coming off a sound 33-save win over the Rangers, while Thomas Greiss (7-3-2, 2.30 GAA, .925 SV%) has won two straight games. Greiss made 38 saves in a 3-2 OT win over the Blues on Oct. 24.

“I hope they are pushing each other, that’s what you want,” Capuano said of his goalies. “We’ve got two great goalies here. Jaro is our guy, he’s been there for us, but it’s good to see those guys pushing one another.”

READ: ACE IN THE GOAL

3. Brooklyn Pride Night: The Islanders are wearing their Brooklyn-themed black-and-white third jerseys Friday, as part of Brooklyn Pride night, which coincides with FDNY night. Click here for a special deal on tickets. Also, starting Friday, Islanders fans will be able to watch warm-ups from the glass.

4. Elliott Starts for St. Louis: Brian Elliott will start in goal for the Blues. Jake Allen will start on Saturday as the Blues host the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second half of a back-to-back set. Elliott has taken a back seat to Allen this season, but made eight saves in relief on Tuesday, his first action since Nov. 17. The veteran netminder is 4-2-1 overall, but after starting the season 4-0, hasn’t won since Oct. 18. 

5. Blues: The Blues (15-7-3) enter Friday’s game second in the NHL’s Central Division, arguably the toughest division in the league. To put things in perspective, the reigning champion Chicago Blackhawks are fifth in the division and only three points behind St. Louis. The Blues are stingy defensively, having allowed the second-fewest goals in the Western Conference (61). 

Vladimir Tarasenko leads the Blues with 14 goals and 24 points, while Alex Steen (9-12-21) is the team’s second-leading scorer. Paul Stastny fills out the Blues’ top line, with a goal and an assist in four games since returning from a broken foot. 

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