The Islanders pushed the Blues around in the first 20 minutes Saturday afternoon -- and pushed Martin Brodeur into the St. Louis net after building a three-goal lead.
But the Blues pushed back, hard, in the second. And for the first time this season, the Islanders had no answer.
Paul Stastny's goal with 6:34 to play snapped a 4-4 tie and sent the Blues to a 6-4 win at Nassau Coliseum. Brodeur stopped 14 of 15 shots in relief of Jake Allen to pick up his first win in a St. Louis uniform and career win No. 689.
He didn't have to sweat much to get it.
The Blues steamrolled the Islanders from the outset in the second period and the Isles allowed three power-play goals while five times short, including T.J. Oshie's screened point shot past Jaroslav Halak to tie the score at 4-4 at 4:51 of the third period.
"We didn't play very well and we let them dictate the play," said John Tavares, whose power-play goal from in tight was the only goal Brodeur allowed. It gave the Isles a 4-3 lead after two periods and seemed to counter a dominant second period by the Blues, who ended former St. Louis goalie Halak's winning streak at 11 games.
Still missing defense stalwarts Lubomir Visnovsky, Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic, the Islanders were unable to keep their makeshift defense from being overrun by the Blues' big forwards, which forced an assortment of penalties.
Brian Strait made a couple of key mistakes on the winning Blues goal, including icing the puck and then letting Stastny go behind the net to set up alone at Halak's left for a slam dunk of Joakim Lindstrom's feed.
"No question we struggled on the back end, I'm not going to lie," Jack Capuano said. "All the icings, it was just a matter of time before it came back to haunt us, and it did. We're missing three of our top four D, but we have confidence in this group of guys."
There was confidence to spare after a first period that featured good play and some luck to go along with it.
Frans Nielsen buried a terrific no-look pass from Kyle Okposo for a power-play goal 7:57 into the game, one of three power plays the sloppy Blues gave the Isles in the opening 10 minutes. Kevin Shattenkirk made an uncharacteristic bad pass up the middle in his own zone that Ryan Strome picked off just inside the blue line and slapped past Allen for a 2-0 lead with 1:59 left in the first.
Allen was destined for the pine when he mishandled Matt Donovan's unscreened shot in the closing seconds, leaving it for Michael Grabner to jam home for his first of the season.
A few of the fans in the sellout crowd began a "we want Marty!" chant. They got their wish to start the second, but Brodeur didn't face a shot for eight minutes, thanks to his teammates.
The Islanders certainly wanted to test the 42-year-old goaltender. "First we've got to have the puck," Tavares said. "We played too much without it and we were working too hard to try and get it back."
The Islanders have games in St. Paul and St. Louis this week, followed by a visit from the Blackhawks. They were able to muddle through against struggling Eastern Conference teams with their defense banged up, but these Western teams are very different.
"The guys know exactly what happened tonight," Capuano said. "They know [the Blues] played the style we like to play."