If any more indication was necessary to prove that these aren’t the same Islanders from last year, it came on Thursday night in St. Louis.
The Islanders exploded for four goals over the first 10:18 of the second period to overturn an early 1-0 deficit on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Blues at Nationwide Arena.
It’s the fifth straight win for the Islanders (7-4-0) after starting the season 2-4-0. The Islanders didn’t win five consecutive games or more at any point last season.
Anders Lee and Brock Nelson recorded a goal and assist apiece while Noah Dobson added two helpers of his own, all of which came in that second period as nine Islanders in total recorded at least one point Thursday.
After Vladimir Tarasenko put St. Louis in front 8:17 into the game, Kyle Palmieri equalized for the Islanders just 14 seconds into the second period when he redirected a Dobson helper in front of a crowded Jordan Binnington-manned goal.
The Blues’ netminder yielded a second just 4:52 later on an Islanders power play that could have ended in disaster had it not been for Dobson.
As the first part of a 5-on-3 advantage came to an end, a turnover in the Blues zone gave St. Louis defenseman Colton Parayko a golden chance to send Niko Mikkola on a breakaway as he exited the penalty box. Dobson read the play perfectly, picked off the pass at the blue line and quickly fed it to Lee, who sent it across to Nelson, who slid a one-timer through the five-hole of Binnington.
For Nelson, it was his fourth straight game with a goal after a slow start to the season.
One minute and 59 seconds later, Josh Bailey had the Islanders’ third when he received a pass from Mathew Barzal while streaking toward the left post. He initially tried to deke around the right pad of an outstretched Binnington at the post and was stuffed, but the puck laid there for him to dive back from behind the goal line and stuff it in.
Nelson returned the favor to Lee at the 10:18 mark to cap off the big frame when he powered his way behind the Blues net for what looked like a wraparound attempt, but it turned out to be a pass for a wide-open Islanders captain in front who slotted it home.
An eventful second period for Lee turned into a Gordie Howe hat trick when he dropped the gloves with Mikkola.
While the Blues had a pair of goals disallowed, they got a second 8:40 into the third period when a Robert Thomas pass deflected off Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield and past an unsuspecting Ilya Sorokin, who once again was brilliant on Thursday night. Sorokin stopped 32 of 34 shots, weathering a busy first period to keep the Islanders in it long enough to find their legs.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau sealed it with 1:32 left in the game when he backhanded a clear from 190 feet away into an empty Blues net for his first goal of the season.