It's hard to argue with Brian Elliott's stats so far this young season. He's 4-0-0 with a 2.01 GAA and a .918 save percentage. Perhaps he's finally putting his foot down on this annual "goaltender controversy" thing. Or, perhaps, he's just doing his job.
Ells is going to need to do some work tonight to keep doing that stellar job. Islanders captain John Tavares has a five game point streak going with no signs of stopping. Including last night's 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins, Tavares has three goals and six assists in those five games, and four goals, six assists so far for the season.
The last time that the Islanders were in St. Louis, they lost 6-3. The only person who scored one of those six goals to be in the line-up tonight is Alexander Steen, who scored two. Barret Jackman and T.J. Oshie are gone, Paul Stastny is out for at least another month, and Jaden Schwartz had ankle surgery and will be out for three months, minimum. Thank goodness the Blues have guys to pick up the slack. Vladimir Tarasenko has five goals and four assists this season, and the grit from Troy Brouwer and Scottie Upshall has resulted in two goals from each of those gentlemen. The Islanders can be one of the rougher Eastern Conference teams to play against, employing Cal Clutterbuck, Calvin de Haan, and Johnny Boychuck. The Blues will need more than finesse to beat these guys, which is good, since not-finesse is something that the Blues have in spades.
They do have the addition of the Chicago Wolves' leading goal scorer, Ty Rattie. Rattie has four goals and three assists in three games in the AHL this year. Ken Hitchcock seems to be looking forward to seeing what he can do:
"He's lighting it up in the American League, he's been champing at the bit," Hitchcock said. "He was close to making the team. Knowing him, he'll really take advantage of this. He's on that cusp of being an NHL player and I don't think he's going to miss the opportunity to come up now."
At the rate that the Blues are going, I hope that many of the Wolves are bit-champing right now. A few more injuries and they'll be playing the Lightning on Tuesday night.