NEW YORK • The Blues cleared two big hurdles Monday, reaching .500 for the season and winning a third consecutive game for the first time all season.
They nearly cleared another Tuesday at Barclays Center but stumbled at the finish line, losing 2-1 in overtime on a goal by Valterri Filppula of the Islanders at 1 minute 37 seconds of extra play.
The Blues entered the contest 0-5 in the second game of back-to-backs this season and had been outscored 24-8 in those games. They’re still winless in that situation, but they did leave Brooklyn with a point, compliments of David Perron’s third-period goal, which tied the score 1-1.
“I thought we played a heck of a game,” interim coach Craig Berube said. “Deserved better. But that’s the way it goes. They’re a good team and they do a good job defending. They’re hard around their net. We couldn’t buy another one.”
Now 20-20-5 for the season, the Blues are 2-0-1 on a trip that closes with a game Thursday in Boston.
“These are the ones earlier in the year that we weren’t getting points,” Alex Pietrangelo said. “We were either losing by a couple, or we had the lead and we were losing them. But we fought back. It was a tight game.
“Tough ice. There wasn’t a whole lot of playmaking on either side. It was tough for both sides to make plays. But those are the ones where we just gotta get points right now and that’s what we did.”
Pietrangelo wasn’t the only Blues player to complain about the ice conditions at Barclays Center.
In any event, the Blues got stuck making a change in OT, with Vince Dunn getting off in favor of Pietrangelo. The timing of the change gave the Islanders (26-15-4) a little more time and space. Filppula took advantage, beating Jordan Binnington far side for his 10th goal of the season.
When asked if Dunn was late coming off the ice, Pietrangelo took the high road.
“It’s a good play by them,” he said. “They know we’re trying to get off. He’s out there for a minute and half, almost two minutes. Three-on-three it’s all about puck possession, right? So we’re trying to change, trying to get a fresh guy on the ice.”
And got caught.
For Binnington, now 3-0-1 as a starter, it’s the first time he has allowed as many as two goals in a game. Filppula’s game-winner basically was a breakaway. And on Jordan Eberle’s first-period goal for New York, the Blues unsuccessfully challenged for goaltender’s interference.
“It was a tough play, and I gotta be stronger, I guess,” Binnington said, describing the scrum in front of the net that resulted in the Eberle goal. “It’s the choice the league chose, so I guess I gotta be stronger there.”
Binnington seemed to complain immediately after Eberle’s tip-in of an Anders Lee shot with 11:17 left in the opening period, but he said he never really got a look at replay. But he said he felt something (from Lee) in front of the net.
“I thought it maybe had a chance to be goalie interference, but it wasn’t,” Binnington said. “Onwards with the game, we kept it low-scoring and we really turned it around. The boys battled really hard. I’m happy we got a point.
“It would’ve been nice to get the other.”
As for Filppulpa’s game-winner, Binnington said: “That’s a chance for me to make a big save, and it didn’t go well.”
But Binnington has now stopped 97 of 101 shots in his four NHL starts. He won’t be going back to San Antonio and the American Hockey League any time soon.
Even with that Eberle goal, Binnington kept the Islanders from taking control in the opening period. Among his other highlights, Binnington stopped a breakaway by Casey Cizikas in the third period, staying patient, standing stall and not giving in to any fakes.
“Super strong for sure,” Perron said. “Key saves at different times. Little tip plays, little chip plays they had — he was calm. You’re not going to win them all, so I thought it was a good performance.”
It remained 1-0 Islanders entering the third, with the Blues 1-17-2 this season when trailing after two periods. But the lead vanished just under six minutes into the period on Perron’s 17th goal of the season — one more than he had all of last year for Vegas — extending his career-high points streak to 12 consecutive games.
With Ryan O’Reilly doing the grunt work behind the net, he fed Perron, who beat Islanders goalie Robin Lehner with a one-timer from nine feet.
“Great play by (O’Reilly),” Perron said. “It was good to put one in and get a point out of it. We had a couple other good looks. One on the power play I hit the nob (of Lehner’s stick). We’re just gonna keep trending in the right direction.”
The Blues lost Oskar Sundqvist for most of the first period after he collided with referee Ghislain Hebert behind the Islanders’ net. Hebert braced himself when Sundqvist came steaming around the net so Sundqvist, trying to stop, got the worst of it. His head rocked back and hit the ice hard when he fell.
He was helped off the ice less than three minutes into the game. It looked like a concussion, but Sundqvist amazingly was back on the ice before the period ended.
Zach Sanford had to be helped off the ice after a third-period collision along the boards, but Berube didn’t think it was serious.
“I just saw him not long ago (in the locker room area) and he seemed fine,” Berube said. “But we gotta wait till tomorrow and see how he’s doing.