Frans Nielsen
Stars-Islanders Preview
Frans Nielsen

Stars-Islanders Preview

Published Jan. 3, 2016 12:21 a.m. ET

The Dallas Stars own the most points in the NHL, thanks in large part to their success on the road. They're having a much tougher time there lately.

The Stars attempt to avoid their longest road losing streak in over a year Sunday night against the New York Islanders.

Dallas (28-8-4) is tied with Los Angeles and San Jose for the most road points in the league at 28. The Stars, though, have dropped three straight road games (0-1-2) and are 1-2-3 in their last six.

They salvaged a point Saturday, erasing a two-goal deficit in the third period before falling 3-2 in overtime at New Jersey in the opener of this three-game trip through the New York metropolitan area.


"You've got to find ways to win when you are down, find ways to get points," coach Lindy Ruff told the team's official website. "We found a point."

Dallas last dropped four games in a row away from home from Nov. 16-Dec. 4, 2014. The team has surrendered 14 goals while losing its last two road meetings with the Islanders, including a 7-5 defeat Oct. 25, 2014.

Jamie Benn failed score in that matchup, and he enters his first visit to Brooklyn looking to snap an eight-game goal drought on the road.

He's scored only six of his NHL-leading 24 goals in away venues. However, he's tallied 13 of his 28 assists outside Dallas.

Patrick Sharp is on the verge of matching his career-high nine-game point streak from Nov. 29-Dec. 18, 2011, when he was with Chicago. He's totaled five goals and six assists in his last eight games.

Sharp has nine points in his last seven meetings with the Islanders (21-13-5).

New York is in search of a bounce-back effort after surrendering the first five goals in Saturday's 5-2 loss at Pittsburgh. Re-establishing their superb play on the penalty kill could be just what the team needs.

The Islanders' penalty kill ranks third in the league with an 86.0-percent success rate. However, the unit has allowed three goals on eight occasions over the last two games after killing a franchise-record 42 straight penalties.

New York gave up two power-play goals and a short-handed tally against the Penguins.

"You're not going to win too many games when you give up two power-play goals and a short-handed goal," coach Jim Capuano told the team's official website. "At even strength shots were 39-33 for us. Special teams were the difference in the game and something we have to be better at."

The Islanders, 1 for 14 on the power play over the last six games, could also use some consistency from John Tavares. The captain's goal Saturday was his second in three games, matching his output over the previous 12.

Tavares has 10 points in eight career meetings with the Stars but none in the last two.

Frans Nielsen, though, got his only career hat trick in the last home matchup with Dallas.

The Islanders are expected to start Thomas Greiss in net for a fifth straight game while Jaroslav Halak nurses an upper-body injury.

Greiss has split the last four games with a 2.86 goals-against average, but he was pulled midway through the second period Saturday after allowing four goals on 26 shots. Christopher Gibson stopped 16 of 17 shots the rest of the way in his NHL debut.

Greiss has a 1.50 GAA while winning two career starts against Dallas.

"He's the hardest working guy that we have," coach Jack Capuano said. "He's going to be right back in for us."


Frans Nielsen
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