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Lehtonen, Stars shut out Islanders

Dallas goalie makes 27 saves; New York loses all three games on road trip @NHL

Lehtonen denies Tavares in front

NYI@DAL: Lehtonen stones Tavares' chance

3/19/16: Kari Lehtonen stops John Tavares' chance at a rebound on the doorstep to keep the Islanders off the board in the 2nd period

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Kari Lehtonen made 27 saves for his second shutout of the season, and the Dallas Stars defeated the New York Islanders 3-0 at American Airlines Center on Saturday.

It was the 34th NHL shutout for Lehtonen, who allowed six goals in a 6-5 loss to the Islanders at Barclays Center on Jan. 3, and the first for the Stars against the Islanders since they relocated from Minnesota in 1993.

"It was nice to get those goals, to get a cushion," Lehtonen told Fox Sports Southwest. "That last minute was a moment to remember. They're a great skating team, but we defended well. There were a lot of big blocks that made things easier for me."

Cody Eakin scored with 6:57 remaining in the second period, and Patrick Eaves and Ales Hemsky had third-period goals for Dallas (43-21-9), which has won back-to-back home games and is first in the Central Division and the Western Conference. The Stars start a three-game road trip against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.

Video: NYI@DAL: Eaves puts home rebound on breakaway chance

"We played really well away from the puck," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. "We stayed patient when we needed to be.

"What was there, we took. We didn't put a lot of high risk in our game. At the end of the night, we got rewarded for it. There was a lot of good in the game."

The Stars appear to be finding a rhythm again as they enter the final three weeks of the season.

"The preparation we're doing now is not just to make the playoffs," Ruff said. "It's to try to get in there and win the first round, and then we'll talk about what we're going to do after that."

Video: NYI@DAL: Eakin finishes the two-on-one rush

It was the first game for the Stars without center Tyler Seguin, who will miss 3-4 weeks after sustaining a cut to his right Achilles tendon in a 4-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Dallas did have its top-scoring defenseman, John Klingberg, back in the lineup after he missed seven games with a lower-body injury.

Thomas Greiss made 33 saves for the Islanders (38-23-9), who lost their third straight game and are 1-3-2 in their past six. New York fell one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, who defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 earlier Saturday, in the race for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders, who have scored three goals during the three-game losing streak, hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"What we're going through right now is a little bit of adversity. What that does is that it challenges your confidence," Islanders coach Jack Capuano told MSG Network. "We're just not putting the puck in the net. We're going to have to stay with it and continue to work."

The Islanders finished 8-4-2 in a stretch that saw them play 12 of 14 games away from Barclays Center. They host the Flyers on Monday, beginning a stretch in which they will play eight of their final 12 games at home, where they are 21-8-4.

Video: NYI@DAL: Lehtonen forces Lee's deflection wide

"It's a tough road ahead," center Frans Nielsen told MSG Network. "It will be nice to come home. We have a lot of home games down the stretch, but we still have to play well."

The Stars had the better scoring chances during a scoreless first period. Greiss stopped Antoine Roussel on a breakaway four minutes into the game and made four saves during the first of Dallas' two power plays.

Roussel had another breakaway midway through the second period but Greiss stopped him again. The Islanders had two good chances to take the lead, but Anders Lee's deflection trickled just wide of the left post and Lehtonen made a big save on John Tavares.

Dallas went ahead 1-0 at 13:07 when Eakin scored on a 2-on-1 break. Patrick Sharp's pass sprung Eakin down the right side, and he beat Greiss with a wrist shot from the right circle for his 15th goal of the season.

Video: NYI@DAL: Lehtonen denies Clutterbuck's slap shot

The Islanders have allowed the first goal in five consecutive games.

Eaves made it 2-0 when he took the puck away from Nielsen and raced in on a breakaway. Greiss stopped his first shot, but Eaves banged in the rebound for his eighth goal of the season.

Hemsky hit the empty net with 2:54 remaining.

Dallas blocked 26 shots; 13 players credited were credited with at least one block.

Video: NYI@DAL: Greiss flashes the leather on Sharp

"I think it's a team effort, where it gets contagious and you see guys who don't usually block shots give up their body," Ruff said. "It isn't your typical guys who are laying their bodies out, and when that happens, it's a great thing for a team. The guys get up on the bench. Some of those blocked shots are like scoring a goal."

Islanders center Casey Cizikas returned after missing New York's 4-2 loss at the Nashville Predators on Thursday with an upper-body injury.

Forward Kyle Okposo felt the Islanders' level of play improved from the loss in Nashville.

"I thought we got back to playing our game," he told MSG Network. "We just weren't able to get anything done offensively."

Video: Lehtonen, Stars, shut out Islanders, 3-0

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