Fun fact about the New York Islanders- They're technically last in the Eastern Conference with 42 points through 42 games played. A favorable matchup this evening for the Dallas Stars, no?
They're not last by points percentage, however. That honor belongs to the Buffalo Sabres, who beat Dallas this week, and their 43 points through 44 games. What's also interesting is that the Islanders are last in their conference and yet boast a -8 goal differential, better than the Sabres, Wings, Devils, Lightning, Panthers, and Flyers.
That list, not unlike the comment about the Sabres, evokes images of teams that have bested the Stars this season.
Which is all to say that it's yet another stop on the road-trip of Marquee Matchups of teams that aren't doing so great, bro. Which means it's a chance for the Stars to put another two in the piggy bank before a real Eastern foe arrives in the form of the unstoppable Capitals Saturday night at the AAC. Bring tissues.
Meanwhile, try to figure out the Islanders-
- They tied the Arizona Coyotes in what you might insensitively brand a 1-1 cripple fight
- They lost to the Avalanche- Enough said
- They lost to the Panthers 2-1
- They beat the Panthers 5-2
- They lost to the Hurricanes 7-4
- They destroyed the Bruins Monday 4-0
So what are they? Their goal differential compared to their peers says they're a mess but will strike hard at random, and destroy someone on occasion. The Dallas Stars visit tonight. Which team will Ruff's group allow the Islanders to be?
That's the way the question should be phrased as we witness the Stars flit in and out of their former selves- Sometimes excelling in bursts and other times crumbling in the face of adversity. They'll allow the Islanders to be one thing or another as the bounces happen.
The Islanders might have a little extra to say today, however- For the very thing that some call for here in Dallas has transpired in Brooklyn as the Isles turn over their head coaching position ahead of this one, of course- Creating a hungry group eager to perform in front of their new bench boss.
Jack Capuano is out as head coach of the last-place New York Islanders, with the team announcing the move Tuesday amid its 17-17-8 start to the season.
Assistant general manager Doug Weight will take over as coach on an interim basis. According to an NHL source, the Islanders have received permission from Florida to talk to former Panthers coach Gerard Gallant.
The move comes one day after the Islanders shut out the Boston Bruins 4-0. Team president and GM Garth Snow said the halfway point of the season played a role in the timing of the move.
"Obviously, we're not in a position where we want to be standing wise," Snow said on a conference call Tuesday. "At the end of the day organizationally I don't think Jack was probably going to be a coach that we were going to bring back." [ESPN]
The Islanders had competed pretty hard, winning a playof series last year for the first time in a long time, and expectations were set on taking another step. Sound familiar? Instead they've found themselves languishing at the bottom of the pile. Again, the similarities are striking- Which isn't to say the course of action here or elsewhere should be the same.
The Isles come with this-
- de Haan-Seidenberg
- Thomas Greiss
- Jean-Francois Berube
The Stars, of course, are coming off a bad loss in Buffalo and I don't know what you're talking about- Nothing happening in Manhattan at MSG on Tuesday night I really think you're mistaken. Nothing that anyone should every speak of again, anyway.
Johnny Oduya will remain out with the same mysterious lower-body injury he head earlier this season, so Misters Oleksiak and Johns will continue to get opportunities to play.
We hope to see you around 6:00pm CST this evening around the gameday thread as this one gets gong on Fox Sports Southwest PLUS.
From Stars PR:
NO SLEEP TILL BROOKLYN
The Dallas Stars travel to Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday night to meet the New York Islanders for the first of two games during the 2016-17 regular season. Dallas went 1-1-0 against the Islanders last season and are looking to snap a three-game road losing streak to the Islanders (0-3-0). In the most recent meeting between the two clubs on March 19, 2016 at American Airlines Center, the Stars shutout the Islanders, 3-0. Forwards Cody Eakin (1-0=1) and Patrick Eaves (1-0=1) each recorded goals for Dallas, with Patrick Sharp (0-1=1), Johnny Oduya (0-1=1) and Antoine Roussel (0-1=1) registering helpers. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen posted the clean sheet in the contest, stopping all 27 shots he faced. Forwards Jason Spezza (1-1=2) and Patrick Sharp (1-1=2) led all Stars skaters in scoring with two points in two games against the Islanders during the 2015-16 season.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Stars captain Jamie Benn tied a game-high with three points (1-2=3) on Tuesday night against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. With his three-point outing, the captain now has points against every NHL team that he's played against. Benn has four points (1-3=4) in four games since returning from injury on Jan. 12 vs. Detroit. The captain missed four games from Jan. 4 - 12 with a lower body injury. Prior to being held out of the lineup, Benn had skated in 202 consecutive contests with his last missed game occurring in the 2013-14 regular-season finale on April 13, 2014 at Arizona. In 42 games this season, he ranks second on the team with 38 points (11-27=38), with his 27 assists tied for 14th in the NHL. Benn leads the Stars with 27 takeaways and ranks fourth on the team with 62 hits. The native of Victoria, B.C. has points in four of his five career games on the road against the Islanders (3-2=5) and has logged seven points (3-4=7) in 10 career games against them.