Lee scores 2 to lift Islanders to 3-2 win over Blues
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Islanders have started winning with regularity and Anders Lee’s sudden scoring touch is a major reason why.
Lee’s second goal of the game with just over seven minutes remaining lifted the Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
Lee’s go-ahead score on a slap shot came after Casey Cizikas won a faceoff in the Blues zone and sent the puck back to Lee, who rifled it past Allen with 7:18 left for his eighth of the season.
“It was a great job by Casey. That one found its way,” said Lee, who now has seven goals in his last eight games. “What makes this little run special is they’ve all been team wins.”
John Tavares also scored and Thomas Greiss stopped 24 shots to help the Islanders improve their season-best stretch to 5-0-1 in their last six games.
“We’re playing with resiliency and emotion,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “We have that ‘no quit’ attitude.”
Robby Fabbri and Kyle Brodziak had goals for the Blues, who fell to 3-7-1 away from home while going 12-1-3 at Scottrade Center. Jake Allen, who came in with eight straight wins, finished with 24 saves.
Fabbri opened the scoring for the Blues at 4:36 of the first, knocking the puck past Greiss for his sixth of the season.
Lee answered for the Islanders at 6:51, just 12 seconds after Blues forward Jori Lehtera was penalized for high-sticking. Lee tipped Nick Leddy’s shot from the point past Allen.
Tavares then scored his eighth goal with a shot from the high slot at 8:31 to put the Islanders ahead 2-1.
“We were pushing the whole game, it was intense until the end,” Fabbri said. “They are getting pucks in and playing hard.”
Tavares, who also has 13 assists this season and leads the Islanders with 21 points, has 492 career points. The 26-year-old center needs eight points to become the 10th player in franchise history to reach the 500-point mark.
Brodziak scored the only goal of the second at 3:33 to knot the score at 2. Fabbri and defenseman Joel Edmundson had assists on Brodziak’s third goal this season.
The Islanders came into the game off an emotional 4-2 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. They also defeated Pittsburgh and Washington last week.
“We’re playing hard and figuring it out. It takes time,” Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck said of this team’s recent surge. “The effort is there. We’re eliminated confusion and mental errors. It’s a sign of team maturity. ”
St. Louis also lost both meetings with the Islanders last season. The Islanders hadn’t won three straight from the Blues since a five-game winning streak from Feb. 23, 1984, to Oct. 26, 1985.
“They are a good team and they’re on a roll,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We need more from our top-end guys. We had a chance to win, we were it perfect position and didn’t take advantage of it.”
The Islanders are in a stretch where they will play 10 out of 14 games at home. By the time they host the Capitals on Dec. 27, they will have played 22 of their first 34 games at home.
They know they’ll have to made good use of playing at their home rink in Brooklyn, where they are 9-4-4 this season. Last year, they won 25 times at home and finished with 100 points.
“We have to compete, making sure we’re winning battles,” Capuano added. “It’s our work ethic and determination. That’s how we have to play.”
St. Louis opened a four-game, six-day road trip after a 4-0-1 homestand, capped by a 3-2 overtime win over Montreal on Tuesday night after the Blues rallied from two goals down.
NOTES: Forwards Nail Yakupov and Ty Rattie were healthy scratches for the Blues. ... Islanders D Johnny Boychuk was back after missing the win against the Rangers on Tuesday because of the flu. ... The Islanders scratched F Ryan Strome (flu) and D Scott Mayfield.
Blues: At New Jersey on Friday night.
Islanders: At Columbus on Saturday night.