Islanders face Stars, look to build on best divisional start

By Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
Anders Lee and the New York Islanders face off with the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Anders Lee and the New York Islanders face off with the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- A pair of teams off decidedly different yet equally unprecedented victories will square off Sunday afternoon, when the New York Islanders host the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center.

The Islanders last played Thursday night, when they remained perfect in the Metropolitan Division and continued their dominance over the New York Rangers with a 7-5 win over their arch-rivals at Barclays Center. The Stars edged the visiting Boston Bruins on Friday night, when Jason Dickinson scored 1:34 into overtime to give Dallas the 1-0 win.


With their franchise-record eighth straight win over the Rangers, the Islanders (10-6-2) improved to 7-0-0 in the Metro. It is the Islanders' best divisional start ever and the first time since the 2012-13 season an NHL team has won its first seven divisional games.

"These division games are huge," Islanders center and captain Anders Lee said afterward. "Kind of look at it as a big swing in the standings. Can't get these points back later in the year."

The Islanders have won two straight following a three-game losing streak and will enter Sunday in second place in the Metropolitan, four points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets.


"Anytime you have a little skid like we did last week, it's important to get it back," Lee said. "Anytime you can string more than one together, it just feels like you (can) continue that momentum. And we'll be able to take it into Sunday."

The 1-0 overtime win for the Stars, meanwhile, was the first such victory in franchise history. Dallas won the defensive battle despite missing the absence of four defensemen (Connor Carrick, Stephen Johns, John Klingberg and Marc Methot).

"It's a big win against a good team," Stars goalie Ben Bishop told reporters after he notched his second shutout of the season by recording 23 saves. "It's a character win, and we'll take it and obviously get ready for the next one."

The game against the Islanders marks the start of a cross-continental road trip for the Stars, who will visit the Rangers Monday and the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday before returning home for a game against the Ottawa Senators. After that, Dallas embarks upon a four-game west coast swing through Dec. 1.

"We have a lot of hockey coming up, so definitely a big win at home before we hit the road," Bishop said.


Bishop is expected to draw the start for the Stars. He will likely be opposed by Robin Lehner, who was first off the ice at Saturday's practice. Lehner has been splitting time with Thomas Greiss, who was the starting and winning goalie in each of the Islanders' last two games. Lehner last played Nov. 10, when he took the loss after recording 27 saves as New York fell to the Florida Panthers, 4-2.

Bishop is 7-4-1 in 12 career appearances against the Islanders. Lehner is 1-5-1 in seven games against the Stars.

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