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Stars look to make it two straight on road

Kari Lehtonen in goal as Stars close out three-game road trip

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars will look to make it two wins in a row when face the New York Islanders tonight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

They'll be taking on a team that has undergone a big change this week, firing head coach Jack Capuano and placing assistant GM Doug Weight behind the bench as interim head coach.

"They are a little bit like us in that they've struggled with people coming in and out of the lineup," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "Their season has been up and down. There are two ways they can go. You can see a team that is fired up, or sometimes you see a team that is still trying to find their way. We have to prepare for a team we feel is going to be fired up after a coaching change."

The Stars are coming off a 7-6 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. The seven goals were a season-high for the Stars, and for the fourth time in the past six games they scored four or more goals. Over their past 12 games, the Stars have been averaging 3.33 goals per game.

"It's getting a couple healthier guys," Ruff said of the increase in offense. "It's getting Cody Eakin in there and Patrick [Sharp] back in the lineup. The push from our backend has been better, but getting a couple healthy bodies up front has been a difference maker."

The Stars likely will go with the same lineup as last game except Kari Lehtonen is expected to get the start in goal tonight. Lehtonen relieved Antti Niemi in the third period of Tuesday's game and stopped all 12 shots he faced as the Stars held off the Rangers for the 7-6 win.

Johnny Oduya is out tonight with a lower-body injury suffered in Tuesday's game, so Jordie Benn will be back in the lineup after sitting out as a healthy scratch against the Rangers. Brett Ritchie and Curtis McKenzie are the expected scratches at forward.

The Stars, who are wrapping up a three-game road trip, are looking for their first two-game winning streak on the road since Nov. 10-11 when they won at Calgary and Edmonton on consecutive nights.

Islanders Watch

Tonight will be the Islanders (17-17-8) first game under interim coach Doug Weight, who takes over behind the bench following the dismissal of Jack Capuano on Tuesday. Thomas Greiss is expected to get the start in goal for the Islanders tonight. Greiss is 11-7-2 with a 2.41 goals-against average, and .925 save percentage. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk is out tonight with an upper-body injury. He is day to day. Defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower body) and forwards Andrew Ladd (upper body) and Cal Clutterbuck (lower body) are out as well. The Islanders, who are coming off a 4-0 win over Boston on Monday, are 2-2-2 in their past six games.

Tonight's Game

Who: Dallas Stars at New York Islanders
Where: Barclays Center
When: 6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars Projected Lineup

Antoine Roussel - Jason Spezza - Tyler Seguin
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Eaves
Devin Shore - Radek Faksa - Patrick Sharp
Lauri Korpikoski - Adam Cracknell - Jiri Hudler

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Patrik Nemeth
Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi

Scratched: Brett Ritchie, Curtis McKenzie
Injured: Johnny Oduya (lower body), Jamie Oleksiak (hand), Ales Hemsky (hip), Mattias Janmark (knee)

Islanders Projected Lineup

Anders Lee - John Tavares - Josh Bailey
Brock Nelson - Ryan Strome - Stephen Gionta
Anthony Beauvillier - Alan Quine - Jason Chimera
Shane Prince - Casey Cizikas - Nikolay Kulemin

Nick Leddy - Adam Pelech
Thomas Hickey - Scott Mayfield
Calvin de Haan - Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Greiss
Jean-Francois Berube

Scratched: None
Injured: Johnny Boychuk (upper body), Travis Hamonic (lower body), Cal Clutterbuck (lower body), Andrew Ladd (upper body)

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com 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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