Islanders surge past Blues for fifth straight win
ST. LOUIS — Anders Lee and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist during a four-goal second period, and the New York Islanders won their fifth in a row, 5-2 against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Thursday.
Ilya Sorokin made 32 saves and Noah Dobson had two assists for the Islanders (7-4-0), who have won five in a row for the first time since winning nine straight from Feb. 28-March 14, 2021.
“The mood is up,” Dobson said. “The guys are feeling good about themselves. I think our team is going. We have four lines rolling. We keep coming at you. We’re in a good stretch right now. We’ve got to keep it going.”
Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for the Blues (3-6-0), who have lost six in row for the first time since going 0-6-1 from March 22-April 5, 2022.
“It’s tough,” St. Louis center Robert Thomas said. “Everyone’s down, everyone’s disappointed in ourselves. It’s not the stretch — we had a nice homestand here and it’s not the stretch we wanted.”
New York scored four goals in 10:04 in the second. Kyle Palmieri tied it 1-1 just 14 seconds into the period when he redirected Dobson’s shot off the right wall past Binnington.
“We wanted to come out with a push,” said Nelson, who has a four-game goal streak. “It was a huge goal there by Kyle right away. Then we took advantage of the power play there. That’s been huge for us. We get that, that’s nice. Then we did a pretty good job of closing it out.”
Nelson made it 2-1 at 5:06, scoring a power-play goal on a one-timer from the crease after Dobson intercepted a Ryan O’Reilly outlet pass to defenseman Niko Mikkola, who came out of the box after the Blues killed a two-man advantage.
Josh Bailey made it 3-1 at 7:05. After a Thomas neutral zone turnover, the Islanders came into the zone with an odd-man rush, and Bailey poked a puck at the right post off St. Louis defenseman Nick Leddy‘s stick.
Lee made it 4-1 at 10:18 when Nelson, who picked up his 400th NHL point, skated around the net and found the Islanders captain alone in the slot.
Tarasenko gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 8:17 of the first when he lifted a shot off the stick of Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov from the right side of the net. Tarasenko collected a puck after defenseman Torey Krug‘s shot came off the back boards around the other side of the net.
“Loved the first period, especially the first 10 minutes, 12 minutes,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. “Come out in the second, it’s a goal that there’s no reason for it to happen.”
It was the first game for the Blues since general manager Doug Armstrong held a team meeting to discuss their losing streak.
“Regardless of what’s going over there, that’s a great hockey team,” Lee said of St. Louis. “They’re going to figure it out and they’re going to have a great season. This is just a bad stretch for them. So we knew they’d be coming hard. They always do in this building. It’s a tough place to play. We were due for one in this building. I think Sorokin bailed us out a few times. We were then able to do what we wanted to do for a decent amount.”
The Islanders successfully challenged a goal by Leddy at 15:19 of the second that would have made it 4-2 for goaltender interference; video review determined that forward Ivan Barbashev interfered with Sorokin prior to the goal.
Thomas scored a power-play goal to make it 4-2 at 8:40 of the third, a shot from the left circle that caromed past Sorokin off defenseman Scott Mayfield.
“I thought we pushed once things stabilized a bit in that second, I thought we pushed and pushed,” Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo said. “A little bit of tough luck, a couple disallowed goals and what not. That’s no excuse. When things are going tough, I think that’s when you’re supposed to lean on your teammates. I think we’re having a little bit of a tough time doing that. Individually to a man, probably everyone wants a little bit more and expects more from each other and themselves. I think this will be a good time to start leaning on each other a little bit more.”
Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored into an empty net with 1:32 remaining to make it a 5-2 final.
NOTES: Nelson has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his four-game streak. … Lee has five points (two goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak. … Tarasenko has 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in 16 games against New York. … Justin Faulk had an assist, giving the Blues defenseman six in his past five games. … The Blues haven’t lost six straight in regulation since the final six games of the 2013-14 regular season (April 5-13, 2014). … St. Louis has been outscored 30-10 in its losing streak.