Blues' Steen scores twice; Isles drop third straight
ST. LOUIS -- Alexander Steen returned to the ice and looked as though he hadn't missed a beat.
After sitting out two games with a lower-body injury, Steen scored two goals, and Jake Allen made 25 saves in the St. Louis Blues' 6-3 win over the suddenly slumping New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Steen has 18 points in 17 career games against the Islanders.
"He's such a skilled player," Allen said of Steen. "He's such a workhorse leader for us. He can do it all. It just goes to show how good of a player he actually is. He's an underrated player in the league, but we know how valuable he is to our team."
Steen's goal at 4:34 of the third period broke a 2-2 tie. T.J. Oshie started the play by ripping a shot down the right side. The rebound off goalie Jaroslav Halak's pad went to Steen, who scored his seventh of the season.
"I was shooting for a rebound there," Oshie said. "I tried high blocker once and I don't know if I'd tried five-hole already, but I figured I'd shoot for a rebound. I saw the guys coming from the weak side, and luckily Steener was there."
Oshie and Paul Stastny added insurance goals at 15:47 and 17:48.
Kyle Okposo scored his sixth goal for New York at 18:16, before Jaden Schwartz ended any hopes of an Islanders comeback with an empty-net goal at 18:56.
After surrendering just four goals during a three game winning streak, the Islanders have given up 17 during their skid -- including six twice to the Blues.
"We'll give up five a night if we keep mismanaging the puck," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "They'll figure it out sooner or later, and if not they won't be in the lineup."
Allen, in his first action since being replaced by Martin Brodeur in the Blues' first meeting with the Islanders last Saturday, turned away five of six shots in the third period after coughing up a two-goal lead late in the second.
It was a far cry from Allen's first outing against the Islanders when the rookie was pulled after giving up three goals on just 12 shots in the opening period.
"I wanted to just get back on track," Allen said. "Just to feel good about myself again. I felt very in control tonight and kept the game simple."
Steen scored his sixth of the season on the power play at 5:58 in the first period to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.
Barret Jackman doubled the lead at 14:18. Jackman's slap shot from the top of the circle was his first goal since Jan. 20 against Detroit.
The Islanders tied it with a pair of goals late in the second period.
John Tavares scored his 12th goal of the season at 16:03 to put the Islanders on the board. Mikhail Grabovski's unassisted goal at 19:55 tied it.
It was the second time in two games that the Blues struggled in the second period. St. Louis gave up 14 shots to the Islanders after surrendering 18 to Florida on Monday.
"Tonight's game is a microcosm of our season," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We've got great spirit, which is stuff you love, but understanding and managing the game the right way, I think it's important for us to figure out."
Halak, questionable before the game due to an upper-body injury, was shaken up midway through the first period after taking David Backes' shot in the mask. Halak stayed in the game and finished with 27 saves.
Halak, playing for the first time in St. Louis since being traded last season, refused to talk to reporters after the game.
"Jaro probably wanted this game and we wanted to get it for him," Islanders center Brock Nelson said. "We weren't able to do the job and it's tough when that happens."
NOTES: After scoring key goals in the Blues' win over Florida on Monday, Ian Cole and Chris Porter were scratched along with Magnus Paajarvi. ... Blues D Jay Bouwmeester returned to the lineup after missing eight games. ... Griffin Reinhart, Josh Bailey and Cory Conacher were scratched for the Islanders.