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Isles start season against Stars

by Brian Compton

STARS (1-0-0) at ISLANDERS (0-0-0)

TV -- TXA-21; MSG-Plus

Season series -- This is the lone meeting between the teams this season. The Stars defeated the Isles in their one meeting last season, winning 4-3 on Jan. 8 at the American Airlines Center. Isles goalie Rick DiPietro made 22 saves in the first of eight games he appeared in all season.

Big story -- DiPietro is healthy and eager to prove he can stay that way as he opens the 2010-11 season between the pipes for the Isles for the first time since 2007. The No. 1 pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft has been limited to just 13 games over the last two seasons due to various knee and hip injuries. If DiPietro can return to the form that got him to the All-Star Game in 2008, the Islanders will have a much better chance of contending for the playoffs.

Team Scope:

-- After falling behind early 2-0, Dallas rallied for a 4-3 overtime win against the New Jersey Devils on Friday night at the Prudential Center. Loui Eriksson's second goal of the night came 1:36 into overtime as the Stars opened their season on a winning note. New Jersey held a 2-0 lead just 7:13 into the game before Dallas turned things around.

"We had a pretty tough start there," Eriksson said. "But I think we kept in it and we battled back. I think it was a good job by us. It was nice to get the two points."

Islanders -- New York suffered two huge losses to its lineup before it even played its first exhibition game, as defenseman Mark Streit and forward Kyle Okposo went down for extended periods of time with shoulder injuries. Streit isn't expected back until March, while Okposo could return in December. Isles GM Garth Snow responded to the injuries by signing Mike Mottau to a two-year contract and claiming Michael Grabner off waivers from the Florida Panthers.

Who's hot -- Eriksson wasn't the only Dallas player to perform on Friday night at New Jersey. James Neal had two assists for the Stars, while Brad Richards had a goal and an assist. Eriksson led Dallas last season with 29 goals.

Injury report -- Streit, Okposo and Rob Schremp are all out for New York -- Schremp is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a back injury. … Dallas is boasting a healthy lineup.

Stat pack -- The Isles are 24-10-3 in their previous 37 home openers. They have never opened a season against Dallas, but they did begin the 1989-90 season with a 6-5 loss against the Minnesota North Stars. This is only the sixth time they've opened the season at the Nassau Coliseum; they are 2-2-1 in the first five, including a 4-3 shootout loss to Pittsburgh last year.

Puck drop -- "We are glad the preseason is over. With the exception of the two injuries to Kyle and Mark, we are relatively healthy. I think the guys are looking forward to playing a real game now.  There was a lot of training over the course of the summer. The anticipation of playing the first game is something that you wait all summer for, and why you do all the training." -- New York coach Scott Gordon


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