New York Islanders vs St. Louis Blues: Pre-Game Report


Eyes On Isles Pregame Report

Tonight , the New York Islanders (8-15-5, 19 Points) visit  the St. Louis Blues (18-5-3, 39 Points) in game no. 29 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

When: Thursday, December 5th, 2013, 8:00PM

TV: MSG+ (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)

Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN (Chris King)

Tonight, the Isles take the traveling circus to St. Louis, where they will take on the “slumping’ Blues. When I say slumping, I mean those poor poor St. Louis hockey players have had to endure 2 straight regulation losses. The Islanders seemingly haven’t won since John Tavares was in diapers. Ironically, that was not that long ago.

Coach Jack Capuano has decided to once again go with the same lines and same lineup for the third straight game. Our own Rich Dias-Rodrigues has started the Free Brock Nelson movement. How a guy who took Thomas Vanek‘s spot on the first line, in his absence, can be in Cappy’s doghouse is anyone’s guess. It’s certainly not the don’t mess with success answer, that’s for sure.

The Isles have shown some promise as of late, getting two points in their last 2 games. It’s a start. Baby steps. There is still time to right this ship, but time is running short. They are only 7 points behind the NY Rangers for 3rd place. No one has really distanced themselves in the Metropolitan Division. Well, aside from the Penguins. Speaking of Pittsburgh, we won’t even discuss the way the Islanders got hosed by the officiating the other night. But, again, if you don’t put yourself into a position where that matters, you can deal with missed calls.

There are so many problems right now it’s hard to know where to start. The officiating of course does not help, but the team has holes everywhere. The defense is atrocious, though Calvin De Haan has shown some promise in his first 2 games of the season. Just when you get a decent game from someone like De Haan, the offense disappears. We know what happens when they disappear, the Islanders don’t win. I will repeat this stat every pre-game I do until it changes. The Isles are 0-13-3 when they don’t score three goals.

Speaking of three, Anders Nilsson is the 3rd goalie to play for the Isles this season. He may be the best of the bunch due to his size. But, the fact is that the team is still losing. Playing the Blues, who have as many total losses as the Isles do wins, is not going to be an easy task. But if the Isles play a full 60 minute game for once, they could give the Blues some trouble!

What They’re Saying

“These teams in the west are big and physical and they use their size to their advantage. We have to try and be physical early and set the tone. St. Louis is a team that’s really physical. We know what to expect from these teams.”

-Islanders forward Matt Martin

“They played a helluva game against Pittsburgh, they probably deserved a better fate. It’s important that we keep playing our game and negate what we think is their strong point, which is obviously their transition game.”

-St. Louis Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock

Quick Hitters

  • John Tavares is tied for third in the NHL scoring race with 32 points (11g/21a). He is six points off the league lead (Crosby).
  • Tavares has not gone consecutive games without a point this season.
  • The Islanders are 6-2-4 when scoring first, but the Blues are 15-1-2.
  • The Isles and Blues have not played since Feb of 2012. The Islanders lost that game 5-1.
  • The Blues are 11-1-2 at home.

Projected Lineup

26 Thomas Vanek– 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
40 Michael Grabner – 51 Frans Nielsen – 12 Josh Bailey
96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard – 16 Peter Regin – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 13 Colin McDonald

47 MacDonald – 3 Hamonic
55 Ness – 7 Carkner
44  De Haan – 14 Hickey

Scratches4 Radek Martinek, 29 Brock Nelson, 36 Eric Boulton

Injured Reserve: 11 Visnovsky, 20 Nabokov, 37 Strait

45 Anders Nilsson
60 Kevin Poulin