Dallas Stars Vs New York Islanders: Pre-Game Report

Eyes On Isles Pregame Report

Tonight, the New York Islanders (14-22-7, 35 Points) host the Dallas Stars (20-14-7, 47 Points) in game no. 44 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

When: Monday, January 6th, 2014, 7PM

TV: MSG+ (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)

Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN (Chris King)

Opposition Blog: Blackout Dallas

Tickets:  New York Islanders Tickets

Tonight, the Islanders look to start a new winning streak after failing to show up against the Canes on Saturday evening. The Isles put forth a disappointing effort in a 3-2 loss to Carolina. The team has been playing well as of late, and this really starts a key stretch of games-17 to be exact-before the Olympic break.

These upcoming games, which include games against mostly Eastern Conference foes, and 3 against the NY Rangers are vital to the Islanders’ playoff hopes. If they go back to their losing ways, you can bet on another lost season and a high draft pick. If they can get say 22 out of a possible 34 points, then we have something to talk about. Like last year, the Isles are going to need a big second half to make the playoffs and keep the doubters at bay.

It always begins and ends with Goaltending, but defense is vitally important to this team. The Isles have still yet to win a game when scoring less than 3 goals. They cannot count on a 40-year-old goalie to keep bailing them out. They need to win the close ones, and they need to win the low scoring ones.

Josh Bailey will be back in the lineup tonight after missing the last four with a lower body injury. Matt Donovan will also make his return to the lineup replacing Matt Carkner. It’s his first game since being called back up to the big club a few days ago.

What They’re Saying

 I need to see the work ethic, the grit and determination in his game. I need to see a guy that’ll get more pucks to the net. He’s a minute-cruncher for us. We expect all our guys to play well defensively away from the puck, but he has to be a guy who gets pucks to the net, no question.”

-Islanders Coach Jack Capuano on Josh Bailey

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

-Stars Coach Lindy Ruff on the Islanders

“We have a lot of hockey games and lot of points up for grabs. It’s a heck of a month for us.”

-Islanders Captain John Tavares

Quick Hitters

  • John Tavares has four goals and three assists on a four-game point streak.
  • Andrew MacDonald has six assists on a four-game point streak.
  • Kyle Okposo is a game-time decision due to the impending birth of his child
  • The Isles will play their first game against the Stars since 2011
  • Thomas Vanek is on a career-high, eight-game point streak (5g/7a)
  • John Tavares is tied for sixth in the NHL scoring race with 46 points
  • Kyle Okposo is 13th overall

Projected Lineup

26 Thomas Vanek – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
40 Michael Grabner – 51 Frans Nielsen – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
29 Brock Nelson – 18 Ryan Strome – 13 Colin McDonald
12 Josh Bailey– 53 Casey Cizikas – 17 Matt Martin

47 Andrew MacDonald – 14 Thomas Hickey
3 Travis Hamonic – 44 Calvin de Haan
46 Matt Donovan– 37 Brian Strait

20 Evgeni Nabokov

60 Kevin Poulin

Scratches 36 Eric Boulton, 7 Matt Carkner, 13 Peter Regin

Injured Reserve: 11 Visnovsky, 4 Martinek,