The Islanders opened their five-game road trip on a sour note, falling 5-1 to the St. Louis Blues Thursday night at Scottrade Center.
Special teams decided the contest Thursday, as the Isles and Blues combined for four power-play goals, with St. Louis scoring three times on their first four advantages.
“We get into penalty trouble and bang-bang,” head coach Jack Capuano said, referencing two quick power-play goals against in the second period. “We’re having a tough time scoring goals… so we have to kill penalties.”
Kevin Shattenkirk, Jay Bouwmeester, T.J. Oshie and Derek Roy led the Blues with two points each, as St. Louis worked its power play effectively and utilized its size, creating traffic in front of the Islanders net.
“They are a tough team to put yourself in a hole against,” John Tavares said. “We’ve done that a lot in the last few weeks. We need more from everybody.”
Bouwmeester broke the ice with a power-play goal 11:47 into the game, slapping a point shot through traffic and past Anders Nilsson. The Islanders generated several quality chances in the first – Michael Grabner hit the post on a partial breakaway – but the Blues finished the period ahead by one.
The game opened up in the second, as the teams traded penalties and subsequent power-play goals. Andrew MacDonald’s blast, which cut through a Thomas Vanek screen and last Halak, resembled Bouwmeester’s, but that was as close as the Isles came. Roy scored a power-play goal in tight 1:43 later and David Backes added another power-play tally 2:31 after that to make it 3-1.
“For a while we did a good job trying to respond, but we got ourselves into trouble” Capuano said. “It just seemed like a couple whacks in front of Anders and it’s in the back of our net and then Backes shoots one top shelf and it's a two-goal game.”
Magnus Paajarvi extended the Blues’ lead to three with the first even strength goal of the game at 14:59 of the middle frame. Brenden Morrow rounded out the scoring with his fifth at 13:19 of the third period.
Nilsson made 21 saves in his third straight start, while Jaroslav Halak saved 22 Islanders shots for the win.
The Islanders head to California for their next three games, starting with the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night. Puck drop from Staples Center is at 10:30 p.m. eastern time.
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