Ryan Dadoun

Jaroslav Halak, Bobby Farnham, Johnny Boychuk
AP Photo

Without Tavares, Isles fall to Devils in shootout

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The New York Islanders couldn’t eke out a win without John Tavares, but they did overcome a two-goal deficit to earn a consolation point.

New Jersey got off to a strong start as John Moore scored his first goal of the season and 26-year-old Bobby Farnham found the back of the net for the first time in his career. However, the Devils only managed eight shots on goal over the second and third frames.

Anders Lee cut the lead in half with a power-play marker while Frans Nielsen took advantage of a shorthanded breakaway opportunity:

The Islanders couldn’t build on their momentum though, which led to New Jersey’s Mike Cammalleri eventually scoring the deciding goal in a four-round shootout.

Going into the contest, the Islanders were vague about the reason for Tavares’ absence, but once the game ended they announced that he had an illness.

The Islanders have to play again on Sunday though, so we’ll see how he’s feeling at that point. They’ve lost two straight games, but have at least managed to get a point in both of those contests.

Blues’ Parayko’s okay, but now Tarasenko’s hurt

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 8: Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues shoots the puck during warm-ups prior to playing against the Edmonton Oilers at the Scottrade Center on October 8, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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The St. Louis Blues are running out of skilled forwards.

Already missing Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Paul Stastny (foot) and Patrik Berglund (shoulder), now Vladimir Tarasenko (knee) has been added to their sickbay.

Tarasenko was hurt when he was hit by Ducks forward Shawn Horcoff during Thursday’s contest. He remained in the game, but then missed Friday’s practice. Now he’s been ruled out for tonight’s contest against Minnesota, although the severity of his injury is still unclear.

“He’s out for the month of October,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said, per the team’s website. “When November turns, we’ll let you know on that one.”

With Tarasenko injured, St. Louis is now missing four of its top six scoring forwards in 2014-15, including T.J. Oshie, who is now with Washington.

The silver lining in all of this is that defenseman Colton Parayko is available tonight after being seen in a walking boot yesterday. The rookie has been a big contributor for St. Louis so far with four goals and three assists in 10 games.

It’s worth adding that despite St. Louis’ injury woes, the Blues have a 7-2-1 record after winning their last two contests.

Kessel returns to Toronto for weird, but fun game

Phil Kessel
AP Photo
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Phil Kessel has already played in his first game against the Toronto Maple Leafs since being dealt, but now it will be the fans at the Air Canada Centre’s first chance to address him.

“I figure they’ll be some boos, obviously,” Kessel said with a grin on his face as he address reporters this afternoon. “That’s always how it is, right?”

It’s impossible to account for every fan, but it will be interesting to see what the general reception is. He was the face of the Maple Leafs during an era that brought more pain than success, but Kessel himself scored a superb 181 goals and 394 points in 446 games with Toronto.

In terms of offensive production, it would have been unreasonable to expect much more from him, although some will allow their feelings to be colored by the cost of getting him — three draft picks that became Tyler Seguin, Jared Knight, and Dougie Hamilton.

At the same time, he occasionally found himself butting heads with the media and had former Toronto coach Ron Wilson questioned his reliability.

Even still, he made it clear that he considers Toronto home and doesn’t have any regrets.

As for tonight it will be “a weird game, but a fun game.”

Pittsburgh will look to keep rolling after winning six of its last seven. Meanwhile, Toronto is 1-6-2 and has been one of the worst teams offensively without Kessel’s services.

You can watch the full Kessel interview here:

Related: Report: Leafs plan … nothing for Kessel’s Toronto return

Tavares not playing with Isles for as of yet undisclosed reason

skates against the Calgary Flames at the Barclays Center on October 26, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders shut out the Flames 4-0.
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The New York Islanders’ matinee against the New Jersey Devils got tougher with the late announcement that star forward John Tavares is not available — for some reason.

It’s not clear why he’s absent and it won’t be for a while as the Islanders only said, “reasoning to be provided postgame,” per the team’s Twitter feed.

So for now all we really have to go on is that Tavares is injured, based on the fact that the Islanders called it an “injury update.”

With Tavares gone, here’s what the Islanders’ lines look like:

Prior to the announcement of Tavares’ absence Taylor Beck was recalled on an emergency basis. He isn’t playing this afternoon though.

Obviously, this could still be minor and that has to be the hope among Islanders fans. He’s the core of that team and any extended absence from him would be a big hurdle for them to overcome.

Update: Tavares’ injury isn’t believed to be serious, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

Goalie nods: Allen will get his third straight start

Jake Allen, Carl Gunnarsson, Scottie Upshall, Kyle Brodziak
AP Photo
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After the St. Louis Blues play in their 11th game of the season tonight, Jake Allen will have started in one more game than Brian Elliott.

That has less to do with Elliott’s play and more with the strong performance of Allen as of late. The 25-year-old goaltender shutout Tampa Bay on Tuesday and held Anaheim to a single goal Thursday night. That’s earned him a third straight start against the Minnesota Wild.

It will be interesting to see how long Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is willing to ride the hot hand if Allen has another strong start tonight, although there’s an obvious end point in the near future. St. Louis will play Los Angeles on Tuesday and Chicago Wednesday night, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the netminding duties get split for those two contests.

Elsewhere…

Jaroslav Halak will play for the Islanders against New Jersey’s Cory Schneider, who is making his eighth straight start.

— There’s no confirmed starters for San Jose vs. Dallas, although there’s a fair chance it will end up being Martin Jones vs. Antti Niemi.

Jonathan Quick will probably play between the pipes for Los Angeles and while nothing is certain yet, it obviously wouldn’t be surprising if the Nashville Predators go with Pekka Rinne.

— Maple Leafs netminder Jonathan Bernier‘s strong game against the New York Rangers last night will lead to him making a second start in as many days. Pittsburgh will probably start Marc-Andre Fleury after giving him the night off on Thursday.

— Detroit and Ottawa will be playing in the second half of a home-and-home series tonight with the two netminders that rested Friday getting the nod tonight. In other words, Petr Mrazek will face Craig Anderson.

— We might see Jonas Gustavsson in net tonight for Boston as Tuukka Rask played yesterday. Tampa Bay will probably start Ben Bishop.

— Washington’s Philipp Grubauer will make his second start of the season tonight. He’ll likely be countered by Panthers goalie Al Montoya, given that Roberto Luongo played last night.

— Winnipeg will start Ondrej Pavelec against Columbus tonight. The Blue Jackets used Sergei Bobrovsky last night, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Curtis McElhinney start against the Jets.

Karri Ramo will get the nod tonight for Calgary after Joni Ortio played in a 6-2 loss to Montreal last night. This will be Ramo’s first start in the NHL since his stint in the minors. Edmonton will probably go with Cam Talbot.