St. Louis at NY Islanders
When: 7:00 PM
ET, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
The New York Islanders have turned things around following a ragged start to the season, but they must be wary of a letdown against another surging club when the St. Louis Blues visit the Barclays Center on Thursday night. The Islanders ran their point streak to five games (4-0-1) with an impressive 4-2 victory over the crosstown rival New York Rangers on Tuesday.
While the Islanders remain stuck in the basement of the Metropolitan, they have knocked off the division co-leading Rangers, defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh and reigning Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington during the hot streak. "No secret if you want to make the playoffs ... you gotta beat some of the top teams in the league and certainly being able to do that has been big for us," New York captain John Tavares said. The Islanders will have to beat another top team in the Blues, who are on an 8-1-1 roll of their own and coming off an overtime win over Montreal. It is the opener of a four-game road trip for St. Louis, which has struggled away from home with a 3-6-1 record.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), MSG-Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE BLUES (15-7-4): St. Louis received some bad news on the injury front when it was learned that defenseman Robert Bortuzzo will be sidelined for at least six weeks after initial estimates had him sitting out two weeks. The absence of Bortuzzo was lessened by Tuesday's return of fellow blue-liner Joel Edmundson, who had missed the previous 12 games. “The timing couldn’t be better, unfortunately for Borts, fortunately for us, because Eddy was playing well when he got hurt," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of the dual injuries.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (10-10-5): New York received some stellar work from their special team's in Tuesday's victory, killing off all six opposing power plays for the second time in three games to improve to 19-for-19 over the past seven contests. "It's been a strong point of the last couple of weeks," defenseman Travis Hamonic said of the penalty-killing unit. "Guys are sacrificing, it's not easy to block shots, it's not easy to be in those trenches." Tavares, off to a slow start, also converted on the power play for his seventh goal.
1. The Islanders have scored the first goal in six straight games -- the first time that's occurred since February 2015.
2. Blues F Jaden Schwartz has scored seven goals in 10 games after tallying twice on Tuesday.
3. Islanders coach Jack Capuano was not at Wednesday's optional practice due to personal reasons.
PREDICTION: Islanders 3, Blues 2
Stats and Records