Stars-Islanders Preview

Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 11:19 PM
Mark Stepneski

Dallas Stars at New York Islanders

Monday January 6

6:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (20-14-7) are coming off a 5-1 loss to Detroit at American Airlines Center on Saturday. The Stars outshot Detroit 20-13 in the first period, but trailed 3-1 after one. They had a 45-27 shots advantage for the game.

“For the number of guys not feeling that well, I thought our energy in the game was good. We came out great but didn’t score,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Our execution in finishing out opportunities wasn’t good enough. We could have had that team put away, and we didn’t defend some situations very well. They played well on their end and we gave up opportunities.”

It was the second straight regulation loss for the Stars, who ended their five-game homestand with a 2-2-1 record. Saturday’s game marked the halfway point of the season for the Stars, who have 47 points and are two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Monday’s game against the Islanders opens a three-game road trip for the Stars. The Islanders currently rank 15th among the 16 teams in the East, but they do have recent wins over Chicago and Boston. Ruff said the Stars aren’t taking them lightly.

“They’ve got a lot of speed,” Ruff said. “They’ve got three or four guys up front that are really gifted offensively, and they’ve got a young offensive-minded backend. They are always a handful. I’ve always thought they are one team that can turn it up on you speed-wise offensively.”

The Stars could get help on the blue line Monday. Defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who has missed six games due to concussion-like symptoms, is expected to return. Trevor Daley, who has missed 14 games with a high-ankle sprain, could return as well.

The Stars assigned forward Chris Mueller to Texas (AHL) on Sunday.

Injuries: D Sergei Gonchar (concussion-like symptoms) is probable. D Trevor Daley (ankle) is questionable. D Aaron Rome (upper body) and D Stephane Robidas (leg) are out.

About the Islanders

The Islanders (14-22-7) had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 3-2 loss to Carolina on Saturday. The Hurricanes scored two goals in a 57-second span of the second period to take a 3-1 lead in the game.

“On two of the goals, we had the puck on our stick,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “[We gave them] three gifts and on two of them, we had possession of the puck. Puck decisions are what get us into trouble.”

The Islanders are currently in last place in the Metropolitan Division and are 11 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We have a lot of hockey games and lot of points up for grabs. It’s a heck of a month for us,” said Islanders captain John Tavares. “We need to regroup and get back to the things that make us successful, and get ready on Monday.”

Injuries: F Josh Bailey (shoulder) is questionable. D Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) and D Radek Martinek (back) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the first of two meetings between the Stars and Islanders.

*The two teams did not play last season.

*The last time the Stars and Islanders met was Dec. 15, 2011 in New York. The Stars won 3-2.

*The Stars are 37-47-18 all-time against the Islanders.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 9-3-2 in their last 14 road games.

*The Islanders are 1-5-4 in their last 10 home games.

*The Islanders rank 29th in goals against at 3.26 per game.

*The Stars rank 10th in goal scoring at 2.85 per game.

*The Stars rank 29th on the power play at 12.5 percent.

*The Islanders rank 30th in penalty killing at 73.6 percent.

*The Stars are 6-5-1 vs. the Eastern Conference.

*The Islanders are 6-9-1 vs. the Western Conference.

*Stars center Tyler Seguin has 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in his last 11 games.

*Islanders forward Thomas Vanek has 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) during and 8-game points streak.

*Seguin leads the Stars in goals (21) and points (41)

*John Tavares leads the Islanders in goals (17) and points (46).

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