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Islanders At Blues Game Preview: Backes, Steen, And Bouwmeester Return

The Islanders aren't going to get lucky tonight - three players who were questionable at best will be playing tonight.

Wonder Twin Powers, activate!
Wonder Twin Powers, activate!
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, thank God for small miracles. From Lou Korac's gameday lineup post:

The Blues (18-8-2) will have captain David Backes (facial lacerations), Alexander Steen (lower body) and Jay Bouwmeester (groin) in the lineup ready to go when the Blues and Islanders play for the second time since Dec. 6.

Backes, who took a puck to the mouth that required 12 stitches and did some damage to his lower lip, was wearing a full face cage Thursday after not practicing the past two days. Steen, who's missed two games after sustaining an injury against the Nashville Predators, practiced in full Wednesday but was not part of the morning skate. Bouwmeester, who's missed the past eight games since injuring his groin Nov. 22 against the Ottawa Senators, has taken part in the past three days' worth of skates and all are deemed fit to play.

Reinforcements! To be honest, the Blues survived the absence of Steen and Backes really didn't miss any time save for a bit of the game Monday evening, but Jay Bouwmeester has been sorely missed. The Islanders may be missing their three top defensemen and a few other forwards, which should give the Blues a solid advantage. Matt Carkner, Josh Bailey, Casey Cizikas, and Travis Hamonic are all out for the evening. That may mean one of two things: either there's another collapse in the Isles future or the Isles will just be flat to begin with.

Jake Allen is getting another crack at the Islanders after allowing three goals in the first period Saturday afternoon. It's debatable if this was evidence of a mental lapse or nervousness on his part, but it was evident that the Blues did not play a good first period against the Isles. Starting out strong as a team tonight will be key; taking a period off will undermine the Blues' line-up advantage.

Also, another Allen meltdown means more Brodeur-related stuff to be written by folks who need things to write about. I don't know if people want or need to read anything else about how Allen is nervous because of Marty's presence.

The Blues have points in their last six games at home, and have won back to back games - and haven't lost to the Isles since 2011. Jaroslav Halak is in net tonight - will he be doing his best to help his old friends out again? The six goals he allowed Saturday afternoon were much appreciated.