The NY Islanders (19-15-11, 49 points) return to Long Island tonight as they begin the Patrick Roy era against the Dallas Stars (27-13-5, 59 points) at UBS Arena.
The Islanders traveled to the windy city to take on the last-place Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. The Isles were getting outshot early 6-to-1 until Brock Nelson scored his 20th goal on a snapshot from Hudson Fasching. Afterward, Colin Blackwell was penalized a 4-minute major for fighting with Mathew Barzal. The Islanders never took advantage, however, going 0-for-2 on the PP.
After playing well to start the 2nd-period, Boris Katchouk scored his 5th goal on a wrist shot to tie the game 1-1. Just a minute later, Anders Lee turned the puck over in the offensive zone corner to Jason Dickinson, which set up Joey Anderson for his 1st goal of the season. The Isles took the too many men on the ice penalty to start the third period. After making a couple of key saves to keep the game 2-1, Blackwell missed a wide-open net on a wrist shot. Seconds later, Anderson and Seth Jones would catch the Islanders in transition, leading to an odd-man rush that set up Dickinson to score his 15th goal.
However, the Isles were determined not to be embarrassed by responding with a Bo Horvat wrist shot assisted by Barzal. From there, the Isles tightened their defense, not allowing another shot on goal through the rest of regulation. After missing on a couple of opportunities by Nelson, Palmieri scored on a wrap-around shot from Noah Dobson to tie the game 3-3. Without much more action, the game headed to overtime when Jones scored 22 seconds in on a soft wrist shot past Dobson to win the game 4-3.
The Stars are playing the second game of a back-to-back following a matchup against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center last night. The Stars were immediately on the PK following a Ryan Suter tripping penalty. However, Callan Foote took a holding penalty, which led to Joe Pavelski’s 19th goal. The game remained 1-0 into the second period when Jason Robertson took a high-sticking penalty. Instead of just killing the penalty, Roope Hintz would score a shorthanded goal. The Stars were in command the rest of the way, scoring four unanswered goals from Matt Duchene, Hintz, Craig Smith, and Wyatt Johnson. The Devils began a comeback late in the third period with goals from Jesper Bratt and Tyler Toffoli, but that was not enough, as the Stars won 6-2.
The first matchup between the Islanders and Stars last season came on November 14th, 2022, at American Airlines Center. The Islanders spent most of the first period on the PK following Casey Cizikas and Barzal’s penalties. After a scoreless first, Barzal scored 1:30 into the second on an assist from Alexander Romanov. The Stars quickly tied the game 1-1 on a Radek Faska slapshot from the blue line. Following three separate Stars penalties, the Isles finally scored on the PP with a wrist shot from Barzal. Mason Marchment answered 40 seconds later with a goal of his own to tie the game again 2-2. The Stars took control in the third period, scoring three unanswered goals from Jamie Benn, Robertson, and an empty netter from Jani Hakanpaa to win the game 5-2.
The second matchup came on January 10th, 2023, at UBS Arena. Robertson scored just 3 minutes into the first period on an assist from Joe Pavelski. Following a tripping penalty by Faska, Lee would score his 15th goal on a tip-in shot from Nelson. Ilya Sorokin and Jake Oettinger found themselves in a goaltending battle as the game remained tied through regulation. With neither team gaining momentum in overtime, the game was decided in a shootout. Robertson’s successful attempt in the first round was all the Stars needed to defeat the Islanders 2-1.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Per the recent news, Roy will have all eyes on him as a new regime takes over. Kyle MacLean made his NHL debut Friday night, recording 10 minutes of ice time with 1 SOG, 1 hit, and winning 4 out of 10 faceoff decisions. The second line has heated back up, with Palmieri having 13 shots on goal in the last two games. Nelson’s goal on Friday marks the 8th time he has scored at least 20 goals in a season. Nelson is also 2 points away from 500 for his career. Before the game, Pierre Engvall was scratched with an upper-body injury, and Casey Cizikas was placed on IR. Semyon Varlamov has begun skating, which is an important revelation, considering Ilya Sorokin has played in 14 straight games. Having just taken over, Roy will stick with the same lines for tonight’s matchup.
The Stars have not missed a beat coming off their Western Conference Championship series defeat at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights last season. Robertson leads the team with 47 points, followed by centerman’s Hintz and Duchene with 42 and 41. Esa Lindell and Hakanpaa have been their best defensemen, with over 80 blocked shots and a combined +10 rating, when on the ice together. The team is elite in the faceoff circle, winning 53.9% of decisions. The only weak spot for the Stars is their inconsistent goaltending, as Oettinger and Scott Wedgewood have combined a .904 save percentage.
Anders Lee - Bo Horvat – Mathew Barzal
Hudson Fasching - Brock Nelson – Kyle Palmieri
Simon Holmstrom – J.G. Pageau – Julien Gauthier
Matt Martin – Kyle MacLean - Cal Clutterbuck
Alexander Romanov - Noah Dobson
Adam Pelech – Sebastian Aho
Samuel Bolduc – Scott Mayfield
Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Wyatt Johnston
Evgenii Dadonov – Matt Duchene – Tyler Seguin
Jamie Benn – Sam Steel – Joe Pavelski
Craig Smith – Radek Faska – Ty Dellandrea
Esa Lindell – Jani Hakanipaa
Ryan Sute – Nils Lundkvist
Thomas Harley – Joel Hanley