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Preview: Stars at Islanders

Weight coaches first game for New York; goaltender Kari Lehtonen starts for Dallas

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

STARS (19-19-8) at ISLANDERS (17-17-8)

7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-SW+, NHL.TV

 

Stars team scope

Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is expected to make his third start in the past four games. Lehtonen, who is 7-5-1 with a 3.78 goals-against average and .897 save percentage in 14 career games against the Islanders, was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate on Thursday, usually signifying the starter. Center Tyler Seguin needs one point to reach 400 in his NHL career. He has 179 goals and 220 assists in 472 games with the Boston Bruins and Stars. Dallas is looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 27, when they won the second of three straight; Dallas is 3-11-4 in games following a victory this season and is two points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Two points separate the Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Stars and Winnipeg Jets. "That's the story of our season," right wing Patrick Sharp said. "We've been unable to get on that roll and kind of gather up some points and have things snowball. Now is as good a time as any if you look at the standings. There are a lot of teams in the same situation as us, fighting for points to try and clinch that Stanley Cup Playoff spot. We're one of them and we want to get that second in a row." The Stars have six consecutive home games after playing the Islanders.

 

Islanders team scope

Doug Weight will coach his first game for the New York Islanders after replacing Jack Capuano, who was fired Tuesday with the Islanders last in the Eastern Conference, trailing the Ottawa Senators by eight points for the second wild card with 40 games remaining. "I want to be inspired by their play," Weight said. "I want [the team] to achieve things for themselves and have success and that's why I'm doing this. I believe in them, and I think we're a playoff team. But we've dug ourselves quite a hole, and passing teams in this league is historically tough to do, but we're going to take it a game at a time and we're going to compete, be prepared and practice like nobody else and be ready to battle for each other. If you're not going to manage the puck when it's 2-1 in the third period, then take a seat." Goaltender Thomas Greiss will make his eighth straight start. He is 3-1-0 with a 2.89 GAA and .897 save percentage in six games against the Stars. Right wing Josh Bailey, who has five points (one goal, four assists) in a three-game point streak, will play his 600th NHL game.

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Cody Eakin -- Patrick Eaves

Devin Shore -- Radek Faksa -- Patrick Sharp

Antoine Roussel -- Jason Spezza -- Tyler Seguin

Lauri Korpikoski -- Adam Cracknell -- Jiri Hudler

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis -- Patrik Nemeth

Jordie Benn -- Stephen Johns

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Curtis McKenzie, Brett Ritchie

Injured: Jamie Oleksiak (upper body), Ales Hemsky (hip), Mattias Janmark (knee), Johnny Oduya (ankle)

 

Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey

Brock Nelson -- Ryan Strome -- Stephen Gionta

Anthony Beauvillier -- Alan Quine -- Jason Chimera

Shane Prince -- Casey Cizikas -- Nikolay Kulemin

Nick Leddy -- Adam Pelech

Thomas Hickey -- Scott Mayfield 

Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Greiss

Jean-Francois Berube

Scratched: none

Injured: Travis Hamonic (lower body), Cal Clutterbuck (undisclosed), Andrew Ladd (undisclosed), Johnny Boychuk (upper body)

 

Status report

Oduya aggravated an ankle injury in the Stars'; 7-6 win at the New York Rangers on Tuesday and will be replaced in the lineup by Nemeth. Oduya missed 10 games from Nov. 21-Dec. 10 with the same injury. ... Boychuk will not play for precautionary reasons. "Hopefully we will get him back this weekend," Weight said. ... Ladd and Clutterbuck each skated but remain day to day.

 

Who's hot

Seguin has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in his past 12 games. …Faksa has five points (one goal, four assists) in a four-game point streak. ... Hudler has three points (one goal, two assists) in a three-game point streak. … Tavares has five goals in his past three games. ... Leddy has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past four games.

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