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Stars after elusive win against Islanders

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are currently on a five-game winless streak, which is rare territory in recent history. In fact, the Stars haven't lost six in a now in regulation since the 1995-96 team was outscored 28-13 in a six-game skid between Dec. 5 and Dec. 15, 1995.

The downturn started with a 6-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 2 at American Airlines Center. The Stars' last win was Dec. 31 when they defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 to end 2013 on a high note.

In addition to the loss to the Canadiens, the Stars fell 5-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 4 to end a five-game homestand at 2-2-1. During a recent three-game road trip through New York City, Dallas lost 7-3 at the New York Islanders on Monday, 1-0 at the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and 3-2 at the New York Rangers on Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Despite not arriving in Dallas until early Saturday morning, Stars coach Lindy Ruff held practice at the team's Frisco headquarters, although the session started several hours later than normal.

"I am responsible for picking them up and keeping their hope tank full," Ruff told the club's official website Saturday. "This isn't the time to go around and look for every little mistake in the game. We evaluate the game. We see where we could have been better. We made some adjustments out of the Jersey game that I thought the guys really bought into for the Ranger game. We're not quite there, but it was a game we could have won."

The good news is the Stars get a quick chance at redemption when the Islanders make their lone visit of the regular season on Sunday, a game with a puck drop of 5 p.m. local time.

Due to the earlier start time, neither team held a morning skate Sunday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Thomas VanekJohn TavaresKyle Okposo

Josh BaileyFrans NielsenBrock Nelson

Michael GrabnerRyan StromeCal Clutterbuck

Matt MartinCasey CizikasColin MacDonald

Brian StraitAndrew MacDonald

Calvin de HaanTravis Hamonic

Matt DonovanThomas Hickey

Kevin Poulin

Anders Nilsson

Injured: Radek Martinek (back spasms), Evgeni Nabokov (lower body), Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion).

Scratched: Eric Boulton, Matt Carkner, Peter Regin


Jamie BennTyler SeguinErik Cole

Antoine Roussel - Cody EakinRyan Garbutt

Ray WhitneyVernon FiddlerRich Peverley

Valeri NichushkinShawn HorcoffAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Brenden Dillon - Jordie Benn

Kevin ConnautonSergei Gonchar

Dan Ellis

Kari Lehtonen

Injured: Stephane Robidas (leg)

Scratched: Dustin Jeffrey, Aaron Rome

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