Blues-Islanders Preview

The St. Louis Blues saw their longest winning streak of the

season end in their last game. An advantageous schedule could allow

them to start a new run.

The Blues look to rebound from their worst defensive performance

in two years when they visit the New York Islanders on Thursday

night.

St. Louis (30-26-9) won a season-high five in a row before

falling 7-3 at Colorado on Saturday. The club allowed its highest

goal total since losing by the same score at Calgary on March 10,

2008.

“You definitely have to give them credit, but we didn’t play up

to our standard,” said Chris Mason, who posted a 1.74 goals-against

average during the winning streak but was pulled 1:18 into the

second period Saturday after allowing four goals on 15 shots.

The Blues are 11th in the Western Conference, six points back of

the Flames for eight place. However, they may be in good position

to make a push for that final playoff spot over the next several

games.

St. Louis, 4-2-0 in its last six road contests, faces Columbus

on Saturday after its matchup with the Islanders (26-32-8) – a

last-place team like the Blue Jackets. The Blues conclude their

six-game trip Sunday against Minnesota, loser of three straight,

and also visit the New York Rangers – another team that has

struggled of late – on Tuesday.

Alex Steen scored two goals against the Avalanche and has three

goals and three assists in his last three games. His 18 goals match

a career high from 2005-06 when he was a rookie with Toronto.

Steen has two goals and five assists in five road games versus

the Islanders.

David Perron ended a 12-game goal drought Saturday with his

career-high 16th of the season. The left wing scored twice to lift

the Blues to a 4-1 win over the Islanders on Nov. 21.

St. Louis had a three-game road winning streak in the series

halted by a 5-2 loss in the most recent matchup at Nassau Coliseum

on Oct. 11, 2008.

The Islanders, last in the Atlantic Division, have dropped 12 of

15.

They appeared headed for a victory Tuesday, but squandered a

two-goal second-period lead and lost 3-2 to Philadelphia for their

15th consecutive defeat in that series.

“I thought we played well,” said Dwayne Roloson, who had 32

saves and has gone 1-7-0 with a 3.92 GAA in nine games. “We did the

things we had to do to win a hockey game. It doesn’t matter who we

play – it’s a team. They put their equipment on. They put their

jerseys on. They play the game just like we do, so we can’t

mentally or physically worry about what they have done in the

past.”

Rookie John Tavares scored his 18th goal to snap a 17-game

drought. The center has three goals in his last 35 games.

He mustered one shot and was held off the scoresheet in the last

meeting with St. Louis.