Blues blow early two-goal lead in 4-3 home loss to Islanders
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Johnny Boychuk isn’t known for his visually appealing goals, having scored just 52 times in 626 games covering 10 seasons.
However, his hard drive from just inside the blue line gave New York its first lead just 11 seconds after Jordan Eberle had tied the score, and the New York Islanders rallied for a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
“Johnny’s not the prettiest guy to watch,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “But when the game’s on the line, he’s the guy that makes the hard plays. Johnny never makes soft plays. Everything he does is full out.”
Anders Lee capped New York’s three-goal third period, and Matt Martin also scored to help Islanders win their season-high sixth in a row and ninth in 10 games. Robin Lehner stopped 29 shots for his seventh consecutive win.
Boychuk put New York ahead 3-2 with his third goal of the season at 8:38 of the third.
“We didn’t play good for two periods, we were down by one,” Boychuck said. “We just had to basically play one period the way that we should play. We did, and tonight, it was enough.”
Lee pushed the lead to 4-2 with 4:56 left.
The Islanders had a season-low 14 shots on goal and had just nine midway through the final period.
“Good teams, they find ways to win when they’re not playing well,” Eberle said. “As a group, we’re definitely feeling confident.”
Ryan O’Reilly got his sixteenth goal with 1:33 remaining to pull St. Louis within one.
Brayden Schenn, Zach Sanford and Ryan O’Reilly scored for St. Louis. The Blues have lost three of its last four.
Lehner made several fine stops in the third period and protected the lead when the Blues held a 6-on-4 advantage in the final 19 seconds.
The Islanders entered the final period with a 2-9 mark when trailing after two periods.
“That was a big win for us,” Lehner said. “Obviously we didn’t have a great game. But we stuck with it and battled through it together. We scrambled, we just found a way to win.”
Schenn pounced on the rebound of a deflected shot by Jaden Schwartz for a 1-0 lead at 4:11 of the first.
Sanford tipped in a hard drive from inside the blue line by Vince Dunn with 3:23 remaining in the opening period to make it 2-0. It was Sanford’s fifth of the season and his first since being recalled from San Antonio of the AHL on Friday.
New York cut the deficit in half on a drive from the slot by Martin early in the second period. Casey Cizikas set up the goal with a perfect pass from behind the net at 2:25. Cizikas also had an assist on Boychuck’s goal.
“The main thing is we just kept hanging in there,” Eberle said. “Eventually, we did some of the right things.”
Blues goalie Jake Allen made 10 saves.
“I’ve got to be better than that in the third period for this team,” Allen said. “I lost it for them.”
St. Louis has lost five games this season after grabbing a 2-0 lead.
“We had a couple breakdowns defensively, simple as that,” St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said.
NOTES: St. Louis D Joel Edmundson was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. LW Pat Maroon was also scratched.
The Islanders have allowed one goal or fewer 11 times season, already three more than all of last year.
New York will play five of its next six at home.
Eberle returned the lineup after missing the last four games with an upper-body injury.
Islanders: Host Carolina on Tuesday night.
Blues: At Philadelphia on Monday night.