The hits just keep on coming for the St. Louis Blues. They dropped their fifth straight game on Halloween night to the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 5-1. It was a fittingly scary loss, going down 5-0 before Alexey Toropchenko mustered the Blues’ lone goal in the contest. Jordan Binnington was mercifully relieved halfway through the game after being hung out to dry by his defense, marking the first time this season he was pulled.
Now 3-5-0, the Blues sit last in the Central Division with six points and will do anything they can to get going again. They welcome the New York Islanders (6-4-0) to town tonight in hopes of scratching out their first victory in twelve days.
Brayden Schenn – Ryan O’Reilly – Noel Acciari
Pavel Buchnevich – Ivan Barbashev – Vladimir Tarasenko
Jake Neighbours – Robert Thomas – Jordan Kyrou
Alexey Toropchenko – Logan Brown – Tyler Pitlick
Torey Krug – Justin Faulk
Nick Leddy – Colton Parayko
Niko Mikkola – Robert Bortuzzo
Jordan Binnington – Thomas Greiss
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Josh Bailey – Mathew Barzal – Oliver Wahlstrom
Anders Lee – Brock Nelson – Anthony Beauvillier
Zach Parise – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Kyle Palmieri
Ross Johnston – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech – Ryan Pulock
Alexander Romanov – Noah Dobson
Sebastian Aho – Scott Mayfield
Ilya Sorokin – Semyon Varlamov
With a record of 6-4-0 and winners of four in a row, the Islanders are in a three-way tie for third place in the Metropolitan Division. They had an impressive 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 29 after trailing 3-0 in the second period and rattling off five unanswered goals. They’re led offensively by Brock Nelson (11 points), Anders Lee (11 points), and Mathew Barzal (10 points), while Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech remain the team’s stalwarts on defense.
Goaltender Ilya Sorokin has started the 2022-23 season on fire. He has a 4-3-0 record with a .935 save percentage (SV%) and a goals-against average (GAA) of just 2.04. In his last three starts (against the New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Chicago Blackhawks), he’s given up just three goals, stopping 95 of 98 shots. His elite play is fueling the Islanders and has him in early conversations as a Vezina Trophy candidate.
St. Louis Blues: Ryan O’Reilly
Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly has been under scrutiny for his play this season. He’s gone so far as to blame himself for his team’s recent struggles: “I’ve been absolutely horrible right now. I’m not really doing anything. I’m kind of fighting for my life right now. I’ve got to fight to stay in this league, I guess, but I’ve got to do a lot more, leadership-wise, my own play. If I can do that, just that small thing, I think I can make a big difference.
Through eight games, he has just one point (1 goal) and a minus-11 rating. As an unrestricted free agent this offseason, it’s imperative that he gets his game up to his standards – not just for the Blues but for himself and his next contract. With the lineup shuffling at practice, look for O’Reilly to be in the middle of everything tonight on the Blues’ top line.
New York Islanders: Anders Lee
I discussed this with my THW colleague Mike Fink. After giving me a handful of Islanders to watch, I settled on veteran forward Anders Lee based on where the Blues lack defensively. This is what Mike had to say about Lee:
“The best way I can sum up Anders Lee’s offensive game is he knows where his bread is buttered. A lot of his goals are in the slot or near the crease, and he finishes a lot of scoring chances (his typical stat line at the end of the year usually has 25 goals and 10 assists).”
The Blues have struggled to protect the front of the net recently. Lee is the type of player who gets most of his points around the crease and in the slot, so he should be the one to give the Blues’ defense a very difficult 60 minutes.
New York Islanders @ St. Louis Blues – 7:00 PM CST
The Blues and Islanders will face off tonight at 7:00 PM CST at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, MO. You can catch the game on Bally Sports and Bally Sports+. For those who wish to listen to the game, you can find it on 101 ESPN and the 101 ESPN app.
Related St. Louis Blues Reading
- Blues Problems Go Well Beyond O’Reilly
- Blues Rebuild May Be Inevitable
- Blues’ Slow Start Not All on Berube’s Shoulders
- Blues’ Must-Watch Games in November 2022
Marcus Ashpaugh is a team writer at THW, focusing on the St. Louis Blues organization. He enjoys writing about the team at the NHL level as well as the prospects within the organization.