The Islanders look to change their fortunes in north Texas as they wrap up a road trip Sunday night against the Dallas Stars ahead of the league’s three-day Christmas break.
After limiting the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes to a total of two goals in the first two games, New York (17-13-4) quickly ran out of gas in a 4-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday when they blew a two-goal lead after the first period.
“We played a good 20 minutes to start and after that we were just flat,” said Islanders winger Anders Lee, who is tied with center Brock Nelson for the team lead with 12 goals. “The last 40, we’re all just kind of fighting the puck a little bit and fighting the play of the game. You try to work through that, try to get back on it, try to get pucks to the net.”
Eight Islanders have collected at least one goal on the road trip, but the best performer may be Ryan Pulock. The defenseman has five of his 13 assists on the season over the last three games.
New York hasn’t fared well in recent years when visiting the Lone Star State. The Isles have dropped three of their last four at American Airlines Center, including two shutout losses.
Islanders winger Josh Bailey believes the team can bounce back from the setback in Vegas before heading to the Northeast.
“No matter how good or bad you play, you learn from it. There’s always room for improvement and you come in ready to go,” said Bailey, who registered assists in four straight games and six of his last seven.
Dallas (18-15-3) goes for a sweep of the season series after getting two goals each from Esa Lindell and Alexander Radulov in a 6-2 win on Nov. 18 in New York. The Stars are just 2-5-0 when facing Metropolitan Division foes in 2018-19.
Coach Jim Montgomery‘s team also has a quick turnaround after a 2-1 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. Radulov assisted on Jamie Benn‘s third-period goal before picking up his second game-winner of the season with 10 seconds left.
“Now we have to take a rest, adjust a little bit and get ready for tomorrow before the little break,” Radulov said.
Both Benn and Radulov are riding point streaks. Benn has three goals and three assists in a five-game run, while Radulov has one goal and five helpers in a four-game streak.
Benn has been a thorn in New York’s side for a couple of years. Over his last four matchups, the 10-year veteran has three goals and six assists. Meanwhile, Radulov has three goals and one helper in his last two meetings with the Islanders.
Dallas will need them to keep producing. In the back ends of games on consecutive nights, the Stars are 1-5-0 this season.
Dallas also looks for its third win in four games after a season-high four-game skid.
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