The Islanders gave up two goals in the third period, but managed to earn the extra point in overtime by beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2. Kyle Okposo, John Tavares scored during regulation while Mikhail Grabovski scored the game winner. St. Louis had a slew of players injured and it showed in the first period as they looked out of sync, but came back in the second and third periods. The third period has been pretty good for the Isles this year until this game where they gave up two goal, both deflections, to tie the game up at 2-2. Brian Strait got the “Goal” for the Blues as the puck went off his shoulder and past Islanders backup goaltender Thomas Greiss to make it 2-1. Alex Steen redirected the puck in to make it 2-2 after St. Louis kept the pressure on the Islanders. On 3 on 3, Frans Nielsen made a beautiful pass to a charging Grabovski and poked the puck in past Blues goalie Brian Elliot.
My Thoughts: At this point you knew Islanders head coach Jack Capuano was going to make a line change after losing to Boston the game before. Brian Strait replaced Marek Zidlicky while Steve Bernier replaced Ryan Strome. If St. Louis had not been decimated with injuries, I’m not sure if making such a lineup change would’ve been wise. As it stands, it’s still early in the season to make changes like that but the Blues ended up out playing the Isles, especially in the third period and if not for the play of Thomas Greiss, I’m not sure if the Islanders win this one.
Having said that, the Islanders are now 5-2-1 through 7 games. Maybe they only need 2 periods to win a game or a barrage of goals in one period to seal the deal. Everyone is looking for that consistent, complete game from the Isles. Perhaps because of the amount of depth of forwards and now a solid one-two punch in the net, it doesn’t have to look pretty to get the two points. The Isles PP is now ranked 6th while their PK ranks 4th. As a team the rank 4th in goals per game with a 3.38 average. This sounds all well and good, but if their comes a dry spell or a scoring drought, the overall defense must get better with everyone getting into the game and that means everyone skates a full 60 and no more free rides.