New York Islanders versus St. Louis Blues Preview

By James McDermott

The New York Islanders take on the St. Louis Blues today at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in a 1pm matinee tilt.

The Isles are, gloriously, sitting in first place in the Metropolitan division with an 19 best 19 wins. They have won 13 of their last 15 games played. It is no stretch to say that our team is the hottest in the league right now.

In net for the Isles will be the red hot Jaroslav Halak, winner of his last 11 games, an Islander record.

The Isles are not without some drama, however, as they are missing three of their regular defenseman, Travis Hamonic, Johnny Boychuk and Lubomir Visnovsky. The Isles are carrying seven defenseman, all of whom will dress for the pregame warm ups, coach Jack Capuano will make his decision on the D at game time.

The Blues are also a quality team, placed third in a very competitive Central Division with 34 points. They have a small rough pacth though, losing two straight.

They are without the services of their number one goaltender, Brian Elliot, as he is on the injured reserve with a knee injury. The team has signed Hall of Fame bound Martin Brodeur as an insurance policy until Elliot is ready to return.

Brodeur will not get the nod today, as Jake Allen will be between the pipes for the Blues.

The Blues most recognizable skaters David Backes and T.J. Oshie, have not been at their best yet this season with 11 and 6 points respectively but phenom Vladimir Tarasenko has done more than pick up the slack for them. Tarasenko leads the team in points (28) and goals (16).

The Blues have a pair of fantastic defenseman as well in Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo that are worth keeping an eye on too.