DALLAS -- It has already been a successful week for the Dallas Stars. On Monday, Dallas handed Colorado a 3-1 defeat at Pepsi Center, a building where the Stars have struggled in recent years. Three days later the Stars beat Ottawa, 3-2, in overtime for a second straight win.
In the victory against the Senators, Dallas got the game-winner from Eric Nystrom in the third period. Another big story in the win for the Stars was their power play converted an opportunity for the first time in 22 chances when Steve Ott scored in the first period.
While the Stars have struggled on the power play, they have been pretty adept at killing penalties of late, allowing just one power play goal in their last six games, killing off 17 of 18 chances in that stretch (94.4 percent).
Dallas (15-9-1, 31 points) will look to make it three in a row against the New York Islanders (7-11-5, 19 points) tonight at American Airlines Center, their last game at home before they head out on a five-game road trip next week.
“It’s good to try to leave with a win and have that good feeling of having the wind at your back, especially when you’re going on the road,” Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman said. “The main thing for us is to put a good 60 minutes together. If we can do that, the score will take care of itself. We’ve just got to play hard. That’s the main thing for us.”
The Islanders have gotten points in their last three contests, going 2-0-1 in that stretch. This will be the second game in a back-to-back after they fell 5-4 at Chicago in a shootout Friday night.
Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan saw that loss to the Blackhawks and knows that like recent foes Edmonton and Ottawa, New York promises to deliver a game with plenty of speed.
“What a collection of guys that can really hurt you – we saw the talent a little bit on display last night, some great individual efforts. We thought that they controlled the pace against Chicago, who is one of the pacier teams and they were pretty good,” Gulutzan said. “We’ve got to be ready for that pace and we’ve got to make sure we’re hard on these young guys with the skills they do possess for sure.”
Grossman is one of the Stars’ defensemen who will be asked to help neutralize the young, speedy Islanders.
“The games I’ve watched, they’re a pacey team. They’ve got a lot of skill up front,” he said. “We’ve just got to be ready for that. It’s another important game for us. We’ve had a couple of good games lately but we always want to keep building and getting better. We’ve got to come out and play hard. We expect a hard game because these guys are hungry. It will be a tough game.”
Dallas will again be without defensemen Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski, along with captain Brenden Morrow. However, their coach did offer some encouraging news prior to the start of what will be a crucial road trip for his club.
“We’re going to be very close but on the road trip, we will have [Goligoski], Daley and Morrow back at some point on the road,” Gulutzan said. “Morrow and Daley are probables for Thursday [at San Jose], so that will be good news.”