Game Preview: NY Islanders @ Dallas Stars

The Isles defeated the Stars 3-2 in Patrick Roy's debut on January 21st.

Dallas Stars v New York Islanders
Dallas Stars v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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106. BSSW, MSGN. February 26, 2024. Isles at Stars. 35-16-8. 23-20-14. . 8:00 PM EST. 119

The NY Islanders (23-20-14, 60 points) will travel to the great State of Texas as they take on the Dallas Stars (35-16-8, 78 points) at American Airlines Center.

LAST GAME

On Saturday, the Islanders hosted their playoff nemesis Tampa Bay Lightning, at UBS Arena. Two minutes into the game, Adam Pelech took a tripping penalty against Nikita Kucherov. As Pelech's penalty expired, Nicholas Paul scored to make the game 1-0. Just 1:22 later, Kucherov got his revenge against the Isles defenseman as he scored on a shot that tipped off Pelech's arm. Following this goal, Bo Horvat seemingly scored on an assist from Mathew Barzal. However, the goal was overturned because Anders Lee was offside. The Islanders failed to gain any more momentum in the first period, being outshot 9-6.

After failing to capitalize on Calvin de Haan's tripping penalty to start the second period, Matt Martin was called for boarding Mitchell Chaffee. This led to Brayden Point's 29th goal to make the game 3-0. The Islanders could not garner any momentum as they went 0-for-3 on the powerplay while also hearing dissatisfaction from the fanbase.

The Isles finally came to play in the third period, outshooting the Lightning 19-5. After many heroic saves from Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lee scored his 15th goal right as de Haan's second tripping penalty expired. Just moments later, Victor Hedman took a delay of game penalty. This led to Brock Nelson's 25th goal to make the game 3-2. As the seconds were winding down in regulation, Kucherov forced a turnover at the blue line against Lee, leading to Luke Glendening scoring an empty-netter. This would seal the Islanders' fate, losing 4-2.

The Stars' last game came Saturday night at PNC Arena against the Carolina Hurricanes. As per the Islanders game, the Stars and Hurricanes had very few offensive chances in the first period until Jason Robertson netted one past Pyotr Kochetkov at 16:38. The Hurricanes responded quickly in the second period, with Sebastian Aho scoring on an assist from Jesper Fast. Following a successful penalty kill for Robertson's hooking minor, Wyatt Johnston continued his breakout season, scoring on an assist from Jamie Benn. The Stars played shutdown defense from this point on, as Jake Oettinger's 20 saves were enough to win the game 2-1.

HISTORICAL MATCHUP

The Islanders hosted the Stars at UBS Arena as a franchise in turmoil on January 21st. Lane Lambert was fired the day before after an overtime loss to the last-place Chicago Blackhawks. This matchup against the Stars will be historical for the beginning of the Patrick Roy era. Alexander Romanov scored 2 minutes into the game on a breakaway opportunity with Barzal. After Scott Wedgewood made great saves on shots from Kyle Palmieri, Barzal, and J.G. Pageau, the Isles abnormally killed off penalties against Scott Mayfield and Lee.

The game remained 1-0 into the second period until Robertson scored on a pass from Pavelski. Just a couple of minutes later, Nils Lundkvist would capitalize, scoring on a slapshot from the blue line. After a few great saves from Ilya Sorokin, Hudson Fasching tied the game on a tip-in shot from Noah Dobson. With elite goaltending from Sorokin and Wedgewood, this game would be decided in overtime. Just 40 seconds into the frame, Matt Duchene turned the puck over to Barzal in the neutral zone. Barzal passed the puck to a wide-open Horvat, who scored on a backhand shot to win Roy's inaugural game 3-2.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Casey Cizikas returned to the 'Identity Line' on Saturday after receiving positive news following taking a shot off of his wrist in Pittsburgh. Mayfield did not travel with the team to Dallas with a lower-body injury, Sebastian Aho took his place alongside Mike Reilly against the Lightning. Oliver Wahlstrom's "extended look" since Julien Gauthier was waived on January 25th has been put on pause as he was an extra in Sunday's practice. Kyle MacLean practiced on the fourth line, with Pierre Engvall, Cizikas, and Simon Holmstrom playing on the third line. Per the third period against the Lightning, Nelson, Barzal, and Horvat practiced together on the first line. As Roy put it when asked about changing the lines, "You have to put your balls on the table and just do it."

For the Stars, Robertson is continuing a great start to his young career with 19 goals and 38 assists through 59 games. Duchene and Roope Hintz are right behind him with 55 and 50 points, respectively. They have both been outstanding in the faceoff circle, winning 56 and 54.4 percent of their contests. Thomas Harley ranks second amongst NHL defensemen with 14 goals this season. The tandem of Harley and Esa Lindell has produced over 200 blocked shots. Oettinger represented the Stars at this year's All-Star game, having a .903 save percentage in 36 games.

PROJECTED LINES

ISLANDERS

Brock Nelson - Bo Horvat - Mathew Barzal
Anders Lee - J.G. Pageau - Kyle Palmieri
Pierre Engvall - Casey Cizikas - Simon Holmstrom
Matt Martin - Kyle MacLean - Cal Clutterbuck

Adam Pelech - Noah Dobson
Alexander Romanov - Ryan Pulock
Mike Reilly - Sebastian Aho

Ilya Sorokin
Semyon Varlamov

STARS

Jason Robertson - Roope Hintz - Joe Pavelski
Mason Marchment - Matt Duchene - Ty Dellandrea
Jamie Benn - Wyatt Johnston - Logan Stankoven
Radek Faska - Sam Steel - Craig Smith

Thomas Harley - Miro Heiskanen
Esa Lindell - Derrick Pouliot
Ryan Suter - Joel Hanley

Jake Oettinger
Scott Wedgewood