First off, a warning about tonight’s game: it is a 90s throwback night. If you are, for whatever reason, adverse to the Clown Jerseys, go on and plan for eye sheiding now. Just pre-schedule your grumpy tweets, adjust the color on your TVs to whatever setting isn’t dynamic, and just continue complaining about my teenage years/the Blues’ latest nostalgia cash grab.
For everyone who can tolerate a splash of color, tonight’s game should be fun. Will it be the off-the wall goalie optional event that Tuesday’s 6-5 defeat of the Blackhawks was? Hopefully not - because as exciting as that game was it was also heartburn inducing. The Blues pulled out a win, and two points is two points, but that was a hell of a way to get them.
The Islanders are looking for a cushion, too - between their standing as a playoff team and not. With 77 points, the Isles would be in solid contention in either the Central or Pacific, but the east is a cutthroat nightmare right now. Going 4-5-1 in their last ten games has the Isles two points behind the Flyers for third in the Metro and only one point ahead of the Blue Jackets (!) for the second wild card spot. Three points is all that is keeping them from falling out of the picture.
The Islanders need to pick it up down the stretch. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Jordan Eberle are two guys who need to be on the Blues’ radar - Eberle has four goals in his last three games and is riding a four game point streak. Pageau, freed from the Senators, leads the Isles with 25 goals and scored in his debut against the Rangers on Tuesday. He was also ejected for fighting Jacob Trouba, who nailed Pageau’s teammate Michael Dal Colle with an open-ice hit.
The last time these two teams met, the Isles came back to win 3-2 in overtime.