New York Islanders vs Dallas Stars: Pre-Game Report

Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report

Tonight, the New York Islanders (17-22-7, 41 Points) visit the Dallas Stars (20-17-7, 47 Points) in game no. 47 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

When: Sunday,  January 11th, 2014, 6PM

TV: MSG+ (Chris King, Butch Goring)

Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN (Greg Picker, Rob Joyce)

Opposition Blog: Blackout Dallas

Tickets:  New York Islanders Tickets

Tonight, the Islanders will look to keep rolling when they once again face the Dallas Stars. The boys in blue and orange manhandled Dallas last Monday night when they erupted for 7 goals in a 7-3 rout of the Stars.  In that game, John Tavares had a hat trick and 2 assists in a 5 point night.

The Isles are coming off their first win this season when scoring less than 3 goals; a 2-1 come from behind victory in Colorado on Friday night. The team needs to keep the positive momentum after 3 straight wins and 6 in a row on the road. The team finally seems to be coming together and with less than 15 games remaining before the Olympic break, the time is now for the Isles to push towards the playoffs. They remain 9 points behind the streaking Flyers for 3rd in the division, and 8 behind the NY Rangers for the 2nd Wild Card spot. The playoffs are in reach, the team needs to keep playing consistently hard behind starting goalie Kevin Poulin. It won’t be easy with the 30th ranked PK in the league and being 29th in the league in Goals Against. The Isles have to get better on special teams if they are going to go anywhere this season.

The year is not close to being over, but once again, as in past seasons, the Islanders have dug themselves quite a hole. Winning 4 in a row, 7 of 8, and 7 in a row on the road would go a long way towards keeping the good feelings flowing. The schedule only gets tougher from here, so it’s important to start that stretch on a winning note.

Starting today, the Islanders have the following schedule:

Stars, Panthers, Lightning, Flyers, Flyers,  Rangers, Pens, Blues, Bruins, Rangers (Fake Home Game), Rangers.

This will not be easy. But the good teams persevere. Let’s see how the Isles handle the rest of January. In my opinion, anything less than 8 and 3 spells trouble. One game at a time.

What They’re Saying

“This was healthy for us to win one, when we don’t score five goals.  We had to use the extra time, but we got it done.”

Thomas Hickey on Friday night’s come from behind victory.

“We’ve been a decent road team.  Simple hockey maybe, and doing the right things. Goaltending has been pretty good for us. Our special teams on the road over the last two weeks have been good.”

-Islanders’ Coach Jack Capuano on the recent Isles upswing.

“We’re battling, we’re playing hard. Tonight, we had 20 guys going. Not for the 60 minutes, but we picked it up when we had to pick it up. That’s what I liked about our team tonight.”

Jack Capuano on the Islanders 2-1 victory over Colorado on Friday night

“You use part of that game as motivation. They made us look pretty bad and I am using pretty in a light term. I could throw another adjective in there and I won’t. You’ve got this opportunity to come back.”

-Stars’ Coach Lindy Ruff on the manhandling the Stars took from the Islanders on Monday night.

Quick Hitters

  • John Tavares is tied for 2nd in the NHL in scoring with 54 points
  • In 1980-81, the Islander reeled off 8 straight road wins
  • Six straight road wins is tied for the second longest streak in Islanders history
  • The Islanders power play is red hot, and has converted nine of their last 20 opportunities
  • Thomas Vanek and John Tavares had their 10 and 7 game point scoring streaks snapped on Friday night
  • The Stars’ special teams are both in the bottom third of the league
  • The Islanders’ power play is ranked 13th in the NHL

Projected Lineup

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

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

60 Kevin Poulin
45 Anders Nilsson

Scratches 36 Eric Boulton, 7 Matt Carkner,

Injured Reserve: 11 Visnovsky, 4 Martinek, 20 Nabokov