Tonight the NY Islanders travel to the Lone Star State to take on the Dallas Stars in the third installment of their four-game road trip.
Playing with fire constantly throughout the season, falling behind, and fighting back, the Isles were finally burned Thursday night. It took falling behind 4-1 in the second period for the Islanders to finally wake up. Cal Clutterbuck cut the deficit to two, deflecting the puck past Juuse Saros off an Adam Pelech shot with four minutes remaining in the second. The Isles came out for the third with their hair on fire and found themselves only trailing by one five minutes into the stanza following a Kyle Palmeri goal. The momentum was killed after a Scott Mayfield tripping penalty, leading to a power play goal by Nashville just six seconds into the man advantage. Trailing 5-3, the Isles made one final push as JG Pageau beat Saros on the power play to trail by a single goal once again. The Isles would run out of steam and ultimately fall 5-4. The team saw their share of bad luck as they hit five posts, including two from Brock Nelson.
The Central Division leading Stars topped the Florida Panthers on Thursday by a score of 6-4, scoring four goals in the first. Leading 5-2 with just under six minutes remaining in the second period, Stars goaltender Scott Wedgewood was stretched off the ice after an apparent lower-body injury. Wedgewood looked to get caught up in the goal after saving a breakaway attempt from Anton Lundell. Jake Oettinger entered the game for the final 25 minutes allowing two more goals.
The Isles and Stars split both matchups last season, winning one game each. In the first game, Ryan Pulock started the scoring with his second goal of the season less than four minutes in. Nelson finished off his second hat trick of the season, scoring an empty net goal with 20 seconds remaining. Semyon Varlamov allowed two goals on 39 shots helping the Isles to a 4-2 victory.
In the season's second matchup, Nelson nodded the game at two, 31 seconds into the second period, as the Isles traveled to Dallas. The Isles surrendered a shorthanded goal to Radek Faksa midway through the frame for the game's final goal. Varlamov played great once again, making 37 saves on 40 shots but was ousted by Oettinger, who faced a mere 21 shots allowing two goals in the Stars' 3-2 win.
Players to Watch
Mat Barzal is still searching for his first goal of the season. The opportunities for the Isles' top center have come but still have failed to light the lamp. Noah Dobson has continued where he left off last season and is currently top-15 in points among defensemen in the NHL with 12 points.
Jason Roberton is leading the pace for the Stars in both goals (11) and assists (15) fresh off his new four-year $31 million contract ($7.75M AAV). Like Ilya Sorokin, Oettinger is top-ten in both SV% (.927) and GAA (2.23). After a blazing hot start to the season, Oettinger has cooled down significantly since returning from injury. In his last five appearances, he's posted a pedestrian .880 SV% as he tries to find his game.
Zach Parise-Mathew Barzal-Oliver Wahlstrom
Anders Lee-Brock Nelson-Anthony Beauvillier
Josh Bailey-JG Pageau-Kyle Palmieri
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech-Ryan Pulcok
Alexander Romanov-Noah Dobson
Sebastian Aho-Scott Mayfield
*Lineups via Stefen Rosner on Twitter