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Preview: New York Islanders @ Dallas Stars

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The weird second part of the Stars’ season starts tonight.

NHL: New York Islanders at Dallas Stars Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The second half of this ill-fated Dallas Stars season starts tonight. You know what I mean.

Patrick Eaves, Jordie Benn, Lauri Korpikoski and Johnny Oduya have departed with the prospect of playoffs in their future. Other pending UFAs remain, and the insinuation that they would have been moved had they been healthy exists out there in the ether.

Awkward. But so are disappointing seasons with dismounts like this.

Patrick Sharp is healthy enough to play tonight. But for how long? Jim Nill went on the radio and said he’s in need of surgery. The other, Ales Hemsky, might return tonight, coincidentally, after missing most of the season.

Still, most eyes are on the now extremely young defense that Lindy Ruff will shepherd the rest of the way-

"Yeah, well I just think it's an opportunity,” he told the Morning News yesterday. “I myself personally have a lot of work to do with them, most of that has to be done away from the ice, you take a look at our schedule going down the stretch. I thought they played a good game last night.”

The Islanders did nothing at the deadline. One of just two or three teams that did not participate.

“We went down a couple avenues to see if there were hockey deals to be made but nothing really made sense,” general manager Garth Snow told Newsday (read more here @ Newsday). “We weren’t in the rental market because we like our guys better, the ones we have coming back from injury and Josh Ho-Sang, who we just called up. We’re going to go with what we have.”

Doug Weight confirmed as much yesterday about young Ho-Sang-

It would be his NHL debut. He's 21. He gets mentioned by New York media as being a risky draft choice because of his "attitude".

Guys don't debut well against the Stars, right? Nothing to worry about!

This is game three of a franchise record nine-game road trip, and they're in that gaggle of teams with Toronto and the Panthers trying to claim a playoff seed that will likely see them get mercy killed by the Washington Capitals.

Their lines lately without Ho-Sang...

  • Lee-Tavares-Bailey
  • Beauviller-Nelson-Strome
  • Laad-Quine-Chimera
  • Kulemin-Kearns-Gionta

——

  • Leddy-Boychuk
  • Hickey-Mayfield
  • de Haan-Seidenberg

Alan Quine is injured and playing the rest of the trip so look for the youngster somewhere around there.

From Stars PR:

LONELY ISLAND

The Dallas Stars take on the New York Islanders on Thursday night at American Airlines Center for the second and final meeting of the 2016-17 regular season. Dallas has won two-straight games (2-0-0) against the Islanders in the Lone Star State. In the only meeting last season in Dallas, the Stars shutout the Islanders, 3-0. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped all 27 shots on the evening and forwards Cody Eakin (1-0=1) and Ales Hemsky (1-0=1) notched goals for the Stars. Forward Antoine Roussel (0-1=1) and defenseman Patrik Nemeth (0-1=1) added helpers in the victory for Dallas. On Jan. 19, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., the two clubs met for the first time during the 2016-17 campaign with the Islanders shutting out the Stars, 3-0. Forward Jason Spezza leads all Stars skaters with 34 points (15-19=34) in 35 games against the Islanders and has notched four points (2-2=4) in five games against them while wearing a Stars sweater.

STARS ACQUIRE DEFENSEMAN DILLON HEATHERINGTON FROM COLUMBUS

Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Dillon Heatherington from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for left wing Lauri Korpikoski. Heatherington, 21, has produced six points (1-5=6) in 38 games played for Cleveland of the American Hockey League (AHL) this season. Last season was his first full professional campaign and he helped Lake Erie to the Calder Cup championship, appearing in 15 playoff contests and recording three assists (0-3=3). In total, he has appeared in 104 career AHL regular season games and has posted 26 points (4-22=26). He will report to Texas, Dallas' top development affiliate in the AHL. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound native of Calgary, Alberta was originally selected by Columbus in the second round (50th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. Korpikoski, 30, recorded 20 points (8-12=20) in 60 games played for the Stars this season. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound native of Turku, Finland was signed as a free agent by Dallas on Oct. 10, 2016.