The New York Islanders quickly washed away the memories of a disappointing season opener with a solid performance and look to produce another when they host the unbeaten St. Louis Blues on Monday afternoon. Captain John Tavares scored 1:50 into the contest as the Islanders recorded the first four goals en route to a 6-3 home victory over Buffalo on Saturday - one day after getting pounded 5-0 at Columbus.
“We did a good job of creating chances, we played with speed, didn’t turn the puck over in the neutral zone,” New York center Casey Cizikas told reporters after scoring twice and adding an assist on Saturday. “It all starts with our captain getting that first goal. He was outstanding and we followed up.” The Blues go for their third straight victory to open the season as they begin a four-game road trip after posting a 4-2 triumph over Dallas in their home opener on Saturday. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is off to a strong start with a pair of goals and two assists along with a team-high 11 shots as St. Louis has scored nine times in its first two contests. The Blues, who lost forward Robby Fabbri (knee) for the season and are without three other key performers due to injuries, have gotten goals from eight different players in the early going - including four defensemen.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), MSG Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE BLUES (2-0-0): Pietrangelo leads the way for a defense corps that has registered eight points in the first two games, even without the injured Jay Bouwmeester (ankle). Carl Gunnarson has notched a point in each contest and scored his first goal in 62 games on Saturday while Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson also have netted tallies. Brayden Schenn, who was acquired from Philadelphia in the offseason, has made a big impression early on as he has recorded a goal and three assists to tie Pietrangelo and Jaden Schwartz for the team scoring lead.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (1-1-0): Jordan Eberle has not had to change how he plays to adjust to a spot on the top line with Tavares and set up the first goal in Saturday’s win. “(Tavares) plays a similar style to me,” Eberle, who came over from Edmonton during the summer, told Newsday. “The speed he goes at, I’m comfortable with. He sees the ice. I think it’s only going to get better the more we play together.” Cal Clutterbuck (hip) likely will miss his second straight game and coach Doug Weight is expected to keep center Brock Nelson on a line between Jason Chimera and Nikolay Kulemin.
1. St. Louis C Paul Stastny has recorded a goal and two assists in his first two games and is four away from 600 career points.
2. The Islanders are 0-for-4 on the power play and have allowed a pair of short-handed tallies in the first two games.
3. New York has won three of the last four meetings, with each contest being decided by one goal - including one in a shootout.
PREDICTION: Blues 5, Islanders 3