"We just got back to simple things, getting pucks to the net and working on winning the battles," he said. "We got back to what we do best: shooting pucks and getting bodies out in front."
New York goalie Anders Nilsson lost for the first time in regulation in his third start of the season. He made 21 saves.
"We all know in the locker room that we have to step it up," Nilsson said. "Everybody has got to look in the mirror and see what you can do better."
The Islanders, who are 3-10-0 on the road, have given up a league-high 27 power-play goals.
"It's tough what we're going through," Tavares said. "The only thing that is going to get us out of it is better execution."
NOTES: The Blues are 11-0-1 when leading after the first period. ... Islanders G Evgeni Nabokov, who is out with a groin injury, practiced Wednesday and could rejoin the team in a week. ... New York started a five-game road swing that will end Dec. 12 in Phoenix. ... Paajarvi was back in the lineup after missing the previous game with the flu. ... St. Louis won the previous meeting between the teams 5-1 on Feb. 16, 2012. ... The Blues killed off 15 successive penalties at home before MacDonald's power-play goal in the second period.