Published November 20, 2014
Dallas has won two straight and four of six games since a five-game slide, and catapulted to the top of the Pacific Division with 31 points. Los Angeles is right on Dallas' tail with 30 points.
The Stars opened a quick two-game homestand with a 3-2 victory versus Ottawa on Thursday, as Radek Dvorak and Eric Nystrom scored 3:14 apart late in the third period to lead the charge. Andrew Raycroft made 33 saves for the Stars, who are 4-1-1 in their last six games and saw their goaltender make consecutive starts for the first time since Dec. 2010.
"It was a big win, it feels good," Raycroft told the team's website. "It's nice to play back-to-back games, it's probably been a full year since that's happened. For me, I just feel more and more comfortable, just little details like having the puck behind the net, reading plays and it just feels like you just have a little more time the more you play."
Steve Ott also scored in the win for the Stars. After Saturday's game, Dallas will hit the road for five contests against the Sharks, Kings, Rangers, Islanders and Devils. Dvorak has been playing well lately, with three goals and three assists in the last six games. Ott owns three goals in that stretch as well for Dallas, which is 8-1-1 in one-goal games and 9-3-1 at home.
The Stars were without goaltender Kari Lehtonen because of a groin injury, while captain Brenden Morrow (multiple injuries), defenseman Alex Goligoski (broken thumb), defenseman Trevor Daley (back) and forward Adam Burish (broken hand) also missed the game. Daley is expected to miss tonight's game.
The Islanders had a modest two-game winning streak cut short with Friday's 5-4 shootout loss at Chicago in the third test of a four-game road trip. P.A. Parenteau and Matt Moulson each notched a goal and one assist, while Al Montoya made 32 saves in defeat.
"If you're not careful and you're not ready for that you're going to get caught," Montoya said of Chicago's success on the power play. "You're going to see that. We don't want to play that way, but sometimes that's the way momentum goes."
Kyle Okposo and Nino Niederreiter had a goal apiece for the Isles, losers in 15 of their last 19 contests. New York fell to 2-5-3 away from home and is last in the Atlantic Division with a dreadful 7-11-5 record. It is last in the NHL with just 47 goals in 23 games.
The Islanders have earned points in three straight games (2-0-1) and will begin a three-game homestand Tuesday versus Tampa Bay, Chicago and Pittsburgh. Moulson scored for the third straight game on Friday and no Islander has notched a tally in four contests in a row this season. Parenteau is on a three-game point streak with one goal and three assists in that span.
New York and Dallas are playing the first of two meetings this season and will meet again Dec. 15 in Uniondale. The Stars won the lone matchup of the 2010-11 season with a 5-4 shootout victory on Oct. 9, as Mike Ribeiro scored the game-winner in the third round of the shootout. Morrow had two goals for Dallas, which got one goal apiece from Stephane Robidas and Jamie Benn.
Lehtonen made 43 saves in Dallas' fourth straight win in the series. New York's last victory over the Stars was a 3-0 blanking on Nov. 15, 2006 in the Lone Star State.