The New York Islanders look to continue their recent strong play when they host the St. Louis Blues at the Barclays Center Thursday night. It is the first meeting of the season between these two teams. The Islanders are 4-0-1 in their last five games and are now 10-10-5 on the season. Thomas Greiss will be between the pipes for the Islanders while St. Louis will start Jake Allen.
Greiss has won his last two starts, making 25 saves in an overtime win over Calgary last Monday and 31 saves in a come from being win over Pittsburgh on November 30. He also had a 4-1-0 career record against the Blues with a 1.95 goals against average and a .934 save percentage.
The Islanders may have defenseman Johnny Boychuk back in the lineup tonight. Boychuk skated this morning and will be a game-time decision. He missed Tuesday’s win over the New York Rangers with flu-like symptoms.
St. Louis Blues at New York Islanders
Barclays Center –7:00 PM EST
Broadcast Channels: MSG Plus
2016-17 Season Series: First Meeting
St. Louis Blues – 15-7-4 – 34 points
Road Record: 3-6-1
Hot Players: Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen
Jaden Schwartz – Paul Stastny – Alexander Steen
Robby Fabbri – Jori Lehtera – Vladimir Tarasenko
David Perron – Patrik Berglund – Dmitrij Jaskin
Scottie Upshall – Kyle Brodziak – Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
Carl Gunnarsson – Kevin Shattenkirk
Joel Edmundson – Colton Parayko
New York Islanders
Home Record: 8-4-4
Hot Players: Josh Bailey, John Tavares, Casey Cizikas, Andrew Ladd
Key Injuries: Johnny Boychuk, Adam Pelech
Brock Nelson – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Anders Lee – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Andrew Ladd – Ryan Strome – Shane Prince
Nikolay Kulemin – Anthony Beauvillier – Jason Chimera
Nick Leddy – Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey – Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg
1) The Islanders are 4-0-1 in their last five games and are now back at the .500 mark for the first time since they were 3-3-0 in late October. The Isles have not been above .500 yet this season.
2) The Blues are also playing well of late and have earned at least a point in nine of their last 10 contests. However, St. Louis is just 3-6-1 on the road this season as compared to an impressive 12-1-3 mark at home.
3) The first goal will be important. The Islanders are 7-1-3 when they score the first goal while the Blues are 8-2-2 when they take the lead first in games.
4) Both teams are 4-0-1 in their last five games and both teams last played on Tuesday night. This is the start of a four-game road trip for the Blues while the Islanders are in the midst of playing seven of nine games at home. They are 4-0-1 so far during this stretch.
5) The Blues have depth and ability up and down their lineup and will be a big challenge for the Islanders. The Islanders are 6-3-1 thus far this season against Western Conference opponents.
6) Special teams will be important. The Islanders need their 30th-ranked power play to be productive against the Blues strong PK (presently second in the league). The Islanders penalty kill has not allowed a goal in the last seven contests and the Isles have killed 18 consecutive power plays over that time. The Blues are eighth overall on the power play but lead the league in power-play efficiency on the road.
There are many reasons for the Islanders recent success. They have gotten strong goaltending from both Greiss and Jaroslav Halak during their 4-0-1 streak. Newcomers like Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera finally seem to be comfortable playing the Islanders system and are becoming more productive. Josh Bailey now has points in six straight contests. The Isles are also getting a lot of goal scoring from their defensemen with Scott Mayfield’s goal against the Rangers marking the 15th time in the last 21 games a defenseman has scored for the Islanders.
The Blues are a stout challenge for the Islanders and they cannot overlook a Western Conference opponent after playing so many games recently against division rivals.