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Islanders vs. Blues Preview: Long road concludes in St. Louis

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Defenseman Scott Mayfield gets to play NHL hockey in his hometown.

2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition - Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater
“Our number better than your number.”
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

At long last, the New York Islanders’ nine-game trip (or pair of trips to points east and west) away from home concludes tonight in St. Louis.

At 5-2-1 it’s been a good trip, with the Islanders entering today still holding on to the second wild card playoff position in the East.

The hosts tonight are in a similar position: The Blues beat the Anaheim Ducks last night to stay in the West’s final wild card position.

Like the Islanders, the Blues have had an up-and-down season culminating in a coach firing -- Ken Hitchcock out, designated successor Mike Yeo in. The Blues’ streakiness has continued under Yeo, though they are on another run right now that’s taken them back into wild card position.

Unlike the Isles, the Blues started the season strong and in assumed playoff position for most of the fall. But a steady decline and listless play brought an end to the Hitchcock era five months ahead of time.

Lineup News

St. Louis native Scott Mayfield will be back in the lineup tonight, playing his first NHL game in his hometown, where he grew up watching the Blues. Mayfield replaces Adam Pelech on the blueline.

Otherwise, the forwards remain the same — despite a few being “banged up” on this trip — and Thomas Greiss starts in goal again.

For the Blues, Carter Hutton will start after Jake Allen played last night. Jori Lehtera is a scratch after taking a puck to the face in that game. Giant defenseman Colton Parayko — one of the reasons Kevin Shattenkirk felt his role would never expand in St. Louis — is a question mark after leaving last night’s game with an injury.

Coverage

Catch it with fancy visuals on MSG+, or via audio/radio at AM 970 The Answer | LI News Radio | WRHU Hofstra

Neil Best (@sportswatch) has Newsday’s coverage tonight filling in for Arthur Staple. You’ll find plenty of Blues coverage at St. Louis Game Time and stltoday, who has Tom Timmermann (@tomtimm) covering tonight’s game.

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here by game time, which is 8 p.m. EST.