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Stars-Islanders Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Saturday, March 19

7:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (42-21-9) rallied for a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay Thursday. Stephen Johns scored to tie the game 3-3 with 10:18 remaining in the third period and then Jamie Benn scored the game-winner with 8:10 remaining for the Stars, who outshot the Lightning, 17-4, over the final 20 minutes.

“I think we were due for one of those comeback character wins,” said Benn. “I thought we had a strong third period and found a way to win a hockey game.”

The win pushed the Stars two points ahead of St. Louis for first place in the Central Division. Dallas is 4-1-2 in its past seven games.

The win came at a cost for the Stars, who lost forward Tyler Seguin 3-4 weeks with a cut to his Achilles tendon. Seguin was injured on the final shift of the game.

“They operated on him [Friday] morning, stitched him back up,” Stars GM Jim Nill said. “He will be out 3-4 weeks and should be back for the playoffs. It’s as good a case scenario as it could be considering where he got cut.”

Defenseman John Klingberg, who has missed six games with a lower-body injury, could return Saturday.

The Stars announced Friday that they signed Johns to a two-year, one-way contract extension.

Saturday’s game wraps up a five-game homestand for the Stars, who are 2-1-1 in the first four games.

Injuries: D John Klingberg (lower body) is questionable D. Jordie Benn (lower body), C Mattias Janmark (upper body), C Tyler Seguin (Achilles) and D Jason Demers (shoulder) are out.

The Islanders (38-22-9) lost 4-2 at Nashville Thursday. It was the fourth loss in the past five games (1-2-2) for the Islanders, who have scored ten goals over the five games.

“We’re not getting a lot of offense right now,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano told the team’s official site. “At the end of the day, it’s a collective effort from our guys, and we’re going to need more.”

Forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Casey Cizikas did not play Thursday due to undisclosed injuries. Grabovski returned home from the road trip and is out. Cizikas practiced Friday and is day to day.

Saturdays’ game wraps up a three-game road trip for the Islanders, who are 0-1-1 in the first two games.

Injuries: F Casey Cizikas (undisclosed) is day to day. G Jaroslav Halak (groin), D Marek Zidlicky (upper body), D Adam Pelech (upper body) and F Mikhail Grabovski (undisclosed) are out.

*This is the second and final meeting between the Stars and Islanders this season.

*The Islanders won, 6-5, in New York on Jan. 3.

*The Islanders have won four of the past five meetings with the Stars.

*The Stars are 19-9-3 vs. the Eastern Conference including 10-4-1 vs. the Metropolitan Division.

*The Islanders are 19-6-2 vs. the Western Conference including 9-3-1 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars are 11-7-4 since the All-Star break.

*The Islanders are 13-6-3 since the break.

*The Stars lead the NHL in goals scoring (3.21 per game).

*The Islanders rank sixth in goals against (2.45 per game).

*The Stars rank fourth on the power play (22.5 percent).

*The Islanders rank second on the penalty kill (84.8 percent).

*Jamie Benn leads the Stars in goals (36) and points (80).

*John Tavares leads the Islanders in goals (26) and points (56).

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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