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Stars meet Islanders looking to sweep three-game road trip

Bowness says Dallas will have several game-time lineup decisions to make with some players 'banged up'

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer
Stars (30-18-4) at Islanders (29-15-6)

6 p.m., Barclays Center

TV: FOX Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM, 96.7-FM


NEW YORK -- If there is a trend for the Stars these past two seasons, it's that they are much better when they are fresh.

When Dallas went 1-7-1 to start the season, it was playing 10 games in 17 days with travel between nine of the games. When it allowed seven goals and five goals to Florida and Calgary, it was during a stretch of three games in four days. When it has had some breathing room, it's put together some of its best stretches.

Dating back to the playoffs, Dallas had a pair of two-day breaks in beating Nashville in six games last year, but then wore down near the end of the St. Louis series when it was playing every other day with travel between Games 4, 5, 6 and 7.

So as the team comes to the end of a three-game road trip, there is some concern about how it will play Tuesday against the Islanders.

"It's our third (game) in four nights, so you're going to get banged up," said Stars interim coach Rick Bowness as he described that there are several lineup decisions that will have to be made after tonight's warmup.

"It happens."

Video: DAL@NYI: Bowness previews matchup with Islanders

Dallas did not have any players leave a 5-3 win over the Rangers on Monday, but it also has three healthy bodies ready to jump in if needed. Roman Polak and Taylor Fedun were scratches on defense, while Joel Kiviranta sat out as a forward. If any player is dinged, Bowness can use fresh legs knowing the Stars will have two days to rest before they play at home against Minnesota on Friday.

Asked how he will make his decisions tonight, Bowness said: "It's how they feel physically."

On the good side, the Stars have learned to deal with adversity this season. They have allowed the first goal in seven straight games and have battled back to win four of those game. They have seen players like Kiviranta and Fedun jump into the lineup on a moment's notice and received great performances from the depth players.

They have quite possibly the best goaltending duo in the NHL, so they have been very good in back-to-back situations.

Ben Bishop is in goal Tuesday and he is 9-4-1 in his career against the Islanders with a 2.44 goals against average and .912 save percentage. Not a lot of teams have that luxury when they are coming off a win the night before.

Bottom line, the Stars have a challenge tonight against an Islanders team that has had a two-day break at home. But they have handled challenges before.


Upon further review

Two goals were subject to replay Monday. Both ended up counting, but both had different impacts on the game.

Joe Pavelski scored on the power play at 8:08 of the first period on a play that was actually pretty cut and dried. The problem was that a Tyler Seguin shot earlier in the shift hit the crossbar and bounced off the glass behind the goal.

The Rangers contended that the puck hit the protective netting above the glass, which means play should have been stopped. However, replays could not confirm any touching of the netting, so the goal stood and the Rangers were given a delay of game penalty for asking for the review.

Pavelski scored on the ensuing power play, and the Stars went from down 1-0 to up 2-1 in a matter of 16 seconds.

On the second replay situation, Rangers forward Brett Howden found a high puck on the power play and gloved it down to the ice. It appeared he might have gloved it over the goal line, which is illegal, and officials immediately waved off the goal because of its appearance.

However, officials reviewed the play themselves and it was clear, the puck landed on the ice just in front of the goal line and that Howden knocked it in with his stick.

Video: DAL@NYR: Pavelski needs 16 seconds to score two PPGs

In both situations, how each team responded to the goal review was important.

"I don't blame them for that review, it was awfully close," Bowness said. "When you're in those scenarios, you're relying on your video coaches -- and Kelly (Forbes) and Matt (Rodell) do a good job for us -- and they let us know yes or no right away. We rely on them and awful lot."

As for the risk and reward, a lot depends on the score and what the risk might be if you lose. That makes the video coaches want to be very sure on their decision.

"They're very good at analyzing the situation," Bowness said. "It's hard. You've got 30 seconds to make a quick decision and you've got four different angles, and you've got to make the call. It's not an easy job at all."

The Stars allowed three power play goals against Monday. Anton Khudobin let in a soft goal on the first power play, the fluky Howden goal was the second, and Brendan Lemieux scored the third on a tip while the Stars were protecting a three-goal lead,

"I look at the 3-for-3 and say our penalty killing was good," Bowness said


Kiviranta, Polak could return to lineup

The guess is that Roman Polak will come back in after a healthy scratch. He's averaging 16:48 a game. There's also a chance that Joel Kiviranta will get another chance. He scored his first NHL goal Saturday against New Jersey and then had to take a healthy scratch.


By the numbers

The Stars have allowed the first goal of the game in seven straight and 11 of the past 13. They are 9-4-0 in those games.



The Islanders rank No. 1 in the NHL in blocked shots at 864. The Stars are fifth at 793.



The Islanders rank first in giveaways at 701. The Stars rank fifth at 599.


He said it

"I can't speak for other guys, but I check on the standings and see how other teams are doing. We've got to take care of business. We know that if we play well and we take care of what we need to take care of, we'll be all right. That being said, there's a lot of teams that are tight in the standings, so we've got to make sure we're scratching and clawing for every point we can. We've won two to start this road trip and another big one (Tuesday)."

-- Stars winger Blake Comeau on the importance of points with playoff race tightening up

Don't miss your chance to see the Stars take on the Minnesota Wild when they return home to American Airlines Center on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Get your tickets now!

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika, and listen to his podcast.

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