In Scott Mayfield’s homecoming game, the St. Louis Blues defeated the New York Islanders 4-3. Both teams had goal scoring surges in different periods, with the Blues scoring three in the second and the Isles scoring twice in the third to give a glimmer of hope of a comeback. However, Thomas Greiss’ poor night left the Isles with too big a hole to dig themselves out of, and they ultimately fell short. The Islanders still finished their extended road trip 5-3-1, which is a pretty strong record after spending nine consecutive games away from home. A Toronto Maple Leafs victory against the Hurricanes tonight means the Isles have lost their wild card spot for the time being, but they’re just a point out.
What looked like a strong period turned sour early on after Thomas Hickey took a tripping penalty. Vladimir Tarasenko scored on the man advantage, leaving the Islanders down 1-0 early in the first. However, the Isles had a chance to tie the game up when Dmitrij Jaskin was given a double minor for high-sticking. Andrew Ladd put the puck past Carter Hutton early into the four minute advantage, scoring what seemed would be the game tying goal. The Blues issued an offside challenge and were successful, overturning the goal and leaving the Isles with about three minutes of power play time to tie up the game. They were unable to get much going after the challenge, and ended the period down a goal.
Early into the second, Alex Steen added to the Blues’ lead with an unassisted goal. However, Brock Nelson earned one back for the Isles off a nice cross-ice pass from Josh Ho-Sang. Hometown boy Scott Mayfield also earned an assist on Nelson’s goal.
The Blues weren’t done with their goal scoring, however. Vladimir Tarasenko would score his second of the game, and Patrik Berglund got on the scoresheet a few minutes later to end the period up 4-1.
The Isles switched goalies for the third period, pulling Greiss for J.F. Berube. Anthony Beauvillier gave the Islanders some hope, scoring a goal off a rocket of a shot about two minutes into the third period.
Jay Bouwmeester took a penalty for slashing late in the third and Berube was pulled for an extra skater. Nick Leddy scored on the power play to make it 4-3. The Isles had some good opportunities to tie the game with Berube pulled, but ultimately they came up short and fell to the Blues.
Despite the results tonight, the Isles played very well after a long road trip through Canada. Josh Ho-Sang continued to look sharp, especially on the power play where he has more space to make zone entries and creative passes. Overall, the Isles’ road trip still has them well in the thick of the playoff race, and they’ll have more opportunities at home to keep pace with their division and conference rivals.
Next, the Islanders return home to the Barclays Center to face the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes have suffered from poor goaltending this season, despite good play from their young core of players. They’ve always played the Isles well, though, so this game won’t be a pushover. The Isles will need to pick up points where they can down the final stretch of the season.