Series (Game 1 of 1)

New York leads 1-0

Game 1: Saturday, March 5th

Blues 2

(28-28-9, 65 pts)

Islanders 5

(25-32-9, 59 pts)

1:00 PM ET, March 5, 2011

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

1 2 3 T
STL 0 0 22
NYI 2 1 25

A. MacDonald (Islanders - D): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

J. Tavares (Islanders - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

P. Parenteau (Islanders - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Blues-Islanders Preview


Heading into the final five weeks of the season, the playoffs are pretty much out of the equation for the New York Islanders and the St. Louis Blues.

While the Islanders have essentially been out of the playoff picture since December, the Blues were still in the thick of the race less than two weeks ago.

Sputtering St. Louis looks to avoid losing for the seventh time in eight games Saturday when it visits New York.

The Blues (28-27-9) were in 13th place in the tight Western Conference on Feb. 19 but only five points away from a tie for the final three playoff spots. Things are still very congested in the West, and St. Louis remains 13th but has abruptly fallen off the pace due to a 1-6-0 slump.

"We need to find a way to win games," forward David Backes said after Wednesday's 3-2 loss to Washington.

At least the Blues managed to find the back of the net against the Capitals.

After suffering back-to-back shutouts to Calgary, the Blues ended their scoreless stretch at 133 minutes, 32 seconds, on Alexander Steen's goal 11:25 into the first period. It was Steen's goal first in seven games and his third in the last 21, a highly disappointing stretch for the player who is second on the team with 18 goals.

B.J. Crombeen also scored for St. Louis in the second period, ending his 13-game run without a point.

"We played much better, but it obviously doesn't mean much when you don't get two points," Crombeen said.

The Islanders (24-32-9) got two points for the first time in five games Wednesday, beating Minnesota 4-1 to snap an 0-2-2 skid. Blake Comeau had two goals after scoring just twice in his previous 17 games, and Al Montoya stopped 33 shots making his sixth start in eight games for New York.

"Once we got our legs under us and we started doing the right things we were a pretty good hockey team," coach Jack Capuano said.

Capuano's team has been better with Montoya in goal, but a 1-17-3 stretch from Oct. 23-Dec. 13 pretty much ended any realistic chance of the Islanders making the playoffs. Like St. Louis, New York would have to overcome a double-digit deficit to claim a postseason berth.

Montoya, one of six goaltenders used by New York this season, is 3-2-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average in six starts since being called up from the minors.

"It's all about battling and giving your team a chance," Montoya said. "We say, 'we've got nothing to lose,' but there are a lot of guys playing for something in this room."

New York, which opened a five-game homestand Wednesday, has won four of six at Nassau Coliseum but has lost four of five there against the Blues.

These teams haven't met since St. Louis' 2-1 shootout win in New York last March. The Blues swept last season's two-game series and have won five of the last seven meetings.