Talk about mixed emotions ... I'm glad to get to another game, and a chance to put the pressure from the Nashville debacle behind us, BUT it sucks that it has to be against a resurgent New York Islanders. I'm glad we got to the weekend ... BUT the damn game starts at noon. It's good to see Jake Allen is probably back in goal today ... but we're up against Jaroslav Halak in the other net.
The Islanders are another feel-good story for the league this season. Much like the Flames or Predators out West, nobody expected anything substantial from the Islanders this year. They've been getting better these past few years, but a lot of the conventional wisdom figured that it wouldn't be until next year's move to Brooklyn before we saw any marked improvement. Yet, here we are: the Islanders are at the top of the Meh-tropolitan Division, having won 8 of the last ten games. Jaro Halak is on a personal 11-game winning streak, and has put up some really good numbers this year: 2.05 GAA and a .926 Sv%. Remember how Jaro would kick it up a notch against his old Habs ... so I wonder what he has in store for us today.
Meanwhile, they've added talent in front of him. GM Garth Snow has patiently assembled a really talented squad. Just before the season started, he made the move that brought in cap casualties from Chicago and Boston to bolster their defense (Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk). Some offseason signings, like Halak, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin have paid off, and the homegrown talent has continued to improve. They've been a laughingstock for the longest time, but that's not true any more.
They're really pretty good. This is no fluke.
Obviously, the big shot to watch is John Tavares (10g, 13a). He and Brock Nelson (12g, 11a) lead the team with 23 points each. One of my favorites to watch is next, Kyle Okposo, with 22 points on 5 goals and 17 assists. Really though, they are a deep team that can attack in bunches. They may be movin' out soon, but they're leaving in style.
Blues vs Islanders coverage
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Final Verse: The game's an early one, with the puck dropping at 12:00 Noon St Louis time. The GDT should drop shortly before that. Being a Saturday, you'll probably be just rolling out of bed, or switching over from the morning cartoons. Please set your alarms as necessary. The TV broadcast will be on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. Come join us, won't you? Until then, here's a little ditty that has some great nostalgia value.