NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 15th
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (17-11-1) at New York Islanders (9-13-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars will try to win three straight games for
the first time since early November when they visit the sliding New York
Islanders for tonight's battle at Nassau Coliseum.
The Stars are 2-1 so far on a three-game road trip and are coming off
consecutive wins over Los Angeles and the New York Rangers. A victory tonight
would give Dallas its first three-game winning since it won four straight from
Oct. 29 to Nov. 8.
Dallas, which leads the Pacific Division with 35 points, has scored a total of
three goals over its current two-game streak and is coming off Tuesday's 1-0
triumph over the Rangers. Richard Bachman turned aside all 34 shots fired his
way to post his first career shutout and backstop Dallas to the win over
former Stars forward Brad Richards and the Rangers.
Trevor Daley supplied the game's lone goal in the third period for Dallas,
which is 8-7-0 as the visiting team this season.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Bachman, who was making his second career NHL
start, posted 13 saves in each of the final two periods as the Rangers tried
fervently to solve the rookie goaltender.
"I tried to just block it out and focus on the puck, but when you look back
and think about the game you just had and the win it's pretty exciting," said
The game marked Richards' first meeting with his former team since inking a
nine-year, $60 million contract with the Rangers this offseason. Richards has
25 points in 28 games for New York this year, but he was held off the
scoresheet Tuesday in 23 minutes, 24 seconds of ice time.
Stars defenseman Mark Fistric will make his return from a three-game
suspension tonight. He was handed the ban for an illegal hit on Islanders
forward Nino Niederreiter on Dec. 3. Niederreiter suffered a concussion after
getting hit in the head with Fistric's elbow and hasn't played since. The
Swiss winger will miss his fifth straight game tonight.
The Islanders posted a 5-4 win a few weeks back in Dallas, as Matt Moulson
scored a career-best four goals to lift New York to the win. That victory
ended a four-game slide in the series for the Isles, who have lost three
straight on home ice versus Dallas.
New York has lost its last three games overall and suffered a 5-3 setback in
Montreal on Tuesday. The Islanders were down 3-1 early in the third period
before rallying to tie the game, but Petteri Nokelainen scored the game-winner
with 6:15 remaining and Hal Gill added an empty-netter to seal the win for the
Josh Bailey and John Tavares each scored in the final frame to tie things
before New York's comeback fell short. Al Montoya made 24 stops in defeat.
"As the game went on I thought we'd get a point," Islanders head coach Jack
Isles goaltender Evgeni Nabokov could see his first action since Nov. 17
tonight after being activated off injured reserve on Tuesday. Nabokov had been
sidelined with a groin injury and the veteran backstop is 1-5-0 with a 2.83
goals-against average this season. The Isles just placed goalie Rick DiPietro
on injured reserve with a groin injury Thursday.
Young goaltender Kevin Poulin, who was recently recalled from Bridgeport of
the AHL, is expected to start tonight.
New York, which is last in the Atlantic Division with 24 points, has lost five
of its last six home games and is 6-7-3 as the host this season.
12/15 10:45:10 ET