It may have come as a surprise that Thomas Greiss got the call in goal Friday night, considering that Jaroslav Halak was coming off a 33-save gem in the Islanders’ 2-1 shootout win over the Rangers.
The schedule and the opponent definitely played into Jack Capuano’s decision. “We’ve got a lot of games and we do look at matchups, the history of who we’re playing,” Capuano said Friday morning. “That definitely goes into the decision.”
Though Halak has been very strong this season, as indicated by his .926 save percentage and NHL-leading 1.93 goals-against average, his recent history against the Blues, for whom Halak played from 2010-14, hasn’t been good. He surrendered six goals in each game of a pair of losses to St. Louis last season.
Greiss had one of his best games of the year in St. Louis on Oct. 24, making 38 saves in a 3-2 overtime win.
There’s also the back-to-back factor: The Islanders headed out right after the game for Ottawa, where they will face the Senators on Saturday. Capuano rarely uses the same goaltender on consecutive nights, so Halak and Greiss were sharing these games regardless of Wednesday night’s outcome.
Shattenkirk finds Barclays ‘strange’
Blues D Kevin Shattenkirk, a New Rochelle native, got his first look at Barclays Center on Friday. His family had checked it out, at least on television, beforehand.
“My mom was watching the Islanders-Rangers game the other night and she said there’s a random car in the corner of the rink,” Shattenkirk said of the white car that occupies space right behind the corner boards at one end of the arena. “It’s a little strange . . . It looks like an old college-hockey barn.”
Shattenkirk’s mother, Barbara, spent part of her childhood in Brooklyn, so her son expected a decent family turnout for his only borough appearance of the season. There were some definite pockets of cheering when Shattenkirk opened the scoring late in the first period.