The matchup will feature two teams of very similar styles. Like Dallas, New York plays a defensive-minded system that tends to result in low-scoring games. Last year, New York beat out Dallas for the William M. Jennings Trophy given to the goaltender(s) with the fewest goals scored against. This season, Dallas currently holds the crown, but the Islanders are only four goals “behind.”
New York will have the advantage of being well-rested, having played their last game on Saturday in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Dallas interim head coach Rick Bowness did a pretty decent job of load-managing his skaters last night — only a handful of forwards played more than 16 minutes, and none more than 18 — so it’ll be interesting to see how tired Dallas is to start the game.
Then again, the Stars always seem to start slow, so....
Here are the lines Dallas rolled last night against the Rangers:
Jamie Benn – Roope Hintz – Tyler Seguin
Mattias Janmark – Joe Pavelski – Alexander Radulov
Andrew Cogliano – Radek Faksa – Blake Comeau
Denis Gurianov – Jason Dickinson – Corey Perry
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak – Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera – Stephen Johns
Given it’s the second night of a back-to-back, expect Roman Polak to come back in for either Sekera or Johns. Joel Kiviranta might take the ice for the same reasons, but no word who he might go in for.
Ben Bishop will get the start as the fresh goaltender.
Here is what New York iced during practice yesterday:
Anders Lee – Mathew Barzal – Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier – Brock Nelson – Josh Bailey
Kieffer Bellows – Derick Brassard – Michael Dal Colle
Matt Martin– Casey Cizikas – Leo Komarov
Nick Leddy – Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews – Scott Mayfield
Noah Dobson – Johnny Boychuk
Bellows will be making his NHL debut tonight after being recalled from the Bridgeport Tigers yesterday morning. The Islanders drafted Bellows 19th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, and the winger has 24 points in 45 AHL games so far this year.
No word yet as to whether Semyon Varlamov or Thomas Greiss will get the start in net.
Player to Watch
Mat Barzal. His point totals aren’t too impressive (43 points in 50 games), but — and stop me if you’ve heard this before — that’s more indicative of the system than his talent. The Islanders’ offense starts and ends with Barzal, so shutting him down will be Dallas’ top priority.