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Stars begin road trip against Islanders @NHLdotcom

STARS (20-14-7) AT ISLANDERS (14-22-7)


Last 10: Dallas 5-3-2; New York 5-3-2

Season series: This is the first of two games between the Dallas Stars and New York Islanders, who play again Sunday in Dallas. The Stars won, 3-2, on Dec. 15, 2011, the last time the teams played. Jamie Benn had the game-winning goal in the third period.

Big story: The Islanders have lost nine of their past 10 home games and look to conclude their current homestand on a winning note. The Stars begin a three-game road trip on Long Island and will head to Newark to face the New Jersey Devils Jan. 9 before concluding the trip Jan. 10 against the New York Rangers.

Team Scope:

Stars: Dallas has lost two straight games getting outscored 11-5 in the process. The Stars followed up a 6-4 loss Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-1 loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night. The power play was held scoreless on a season-high seven chances.

"I think our defense kind of hit the wall the past couple of games," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said after the game. "We need to get the D healthy and it looks like we're a step away from getting them healthy and then get back to playing good, consistent hockey. It's been a good first half, but a disappointing past couple of games."

Veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar will play against the Islanders after missing the past six games with a concussion.

Islanders: The Islanders had a three-game winning streak snapped Saturday night, losing 3-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Thomas Vanek had a goal and an assist but the Islanders couldn't overcome a three-goal second period from the Hurricanes.

"It seemed like we came out with a lot of energy and we seemed to obviously tail off towards the end even though we had some chances in the third," captain John Tavares said. "We just had some bad breakdowns and gave them the lead and they did a good job of not really giving us a whole lot."

With 16 games in January, the Islanders have a busy month. They head out on the road for a six-game trip after the game Monday.

"We just have to come back and try and play better than we did tonight," Kyle Okposo said Saturday. "They're a good hockey team, Dallas is, and we have to come back and make sure we are ready to play, ready to skate."

Who's hot: Rich Peverly has a three-game point streak for the Stars; Tyler Seguin has six points in six games. ... Tavares has four goals and seven points in four games for the Islanders. Vanek had a goal and an assist Saturday to extend his point streak to eight games (five goals, seven assists).

Injury report: Stars defenseman Trevor Daley (ankle) was activated off injured reserve Monday. Defenseman Stephane Robidas (leg) is on injured reserve and Ruff said defenseman Aaron Rome would "probably be out this week." Ray Whitney, Shawn Horcoff, Peverly and Seguin were all dealing with flu-like symptoms, but all played Saturday. ... Defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) and Radek Martinek (back) are on IR for the Islanders.

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