New York Islanders (17-22-7) at Dallas Stars (20-17-7)
|Date & Time||Sunday January 12, 2014, 6:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Dallas Stars -157 / New York Islanders +143 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Dallas Stars return home to the American Airlines Center hoping that they can snap out of this losing streak. Dallas has now lost five straight and six of their last seven games and find themselves in fifth place in the Central Division standings, 14 points behind the third place Colorado Avalanche. With the way the next playoff format is set up the Stars are really going to have to make a serious run over the second half in order to get back in this thing. We've seen that if Dallas isn't getting production from Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin that there just aren't a lot of offensive weapons to lift this club up. Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt have shown some tenacity but there just aren't enough guys that the opposing club has to worry about. Add in the fact that Dallas has been abysmal on the power play and it's easy to see why the Stars are struggling right now. Friday night at Madison Square Garden the Stars played a strong game but they couldn't hold on to two different one goal leads. Cody Eakin's ninth goal of the year gave the Stars a 1-0 first period lead before the Rangers tied it. In the second period it was Garbutt adding his eighth of the season to make it a 2-1 lead, but New York would answer back yet again. In the closing minutes of the third period the Stars couldn't clear the front of the net and watched as Rick Nash scored the game winner with just under two minutes to play in regulation. Kari Lehtonen's record dropped to 16-12-7 and now the Stars head home to face an Islanders club that really beat them up good last week. New York dominated the Stars, scoring four times in the second period and three more in the third to erase a 2-0 deficit. Dallas was outshot 43-23 in the game and allowed New York to score three times with the man advantage. Obviously you're not going to win many hockey games if you're taking penalties like that and the other team is converting on the power play. Dallas needs to get back to being the aggressor and not letting their opponent dictate the pace of the game to them. When the Islanders were struggling earlier this season their problem was that they weren't playing with a sense of desperation each and every night out. Now New York looks like a team that can make a little run here and it's something that Dallas could learn from if they're paying attention. The Islanders have won six of their last seven games and are coming off a big 2-1 win over the Colordao Avalanche on Friday night. This will be another big game for them because despite playing so well of late they still find themselves in eighth place in the Metropolitan Division. New York has started out this six game road trip with two wins and Sunday night they'll look to add to that in Dallas.