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Preview: Stars at Islanders

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Dallas Stars continue their stretch against Eastern Conference opponents on Monday when they open a three-game road trip against the New York Islanders. The Islanders have not won in regulation at home since Nov. 12 and are mired at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. Unlike most Western Conference teams, Dallas is just 6-5-1 against Eastern foes - a mark it will need to improve in order to climb into a playoff spot in the Central Division.

New York has won four of its last six and scored at least three goals in each victory, but it has also allowed a conference-worst 143 goals as veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov struggles to find consistency. Kari Lehtonen has played in each of the Stars’ last eight contests but has yielded seven goals in five periods since the end of December. Dallas ended last month with points in its last eight games (6-0-2) but stumbled at home against Eastern foes Montreal and Detroit to begin 2014, allowing a total of 11 goals in those losses.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Southwest, MSG Plus

ABOUT THE STARS (20-14-7): Defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Trevor Daley could both return from injury Monday. Daley has been out since Dec. 7 with an ankle injury while Gonchar has missed six games due to a concussion. Team-leading scorer Tyler Seguin had eight goals and eight assists last month, raising his total to 41 points.

ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (14-22-7): Team captain John Tavares has collected four goals and four assists on a five-game scoring streak and leads the team with 46 points. Kyle Okposo enjoyed his strongest month of the season in December with 17 points and his eight-game scoring streak came to an end Saturday in a loss to Carolina. Thomas Vanek appears to have has found his stride with his new team, registering 12 points on an eight-game streak.

OVERTIME

1. Seguin has 11 points in nine games against the Islanders - all while with the Boston Bruins.

2. The Stars score more on the power play when they’re on the road, going 13-for-74 in away contests. New York has struggled to kill penalties at home, allowing 12 goals in 52 opportunities.

3. Dallas is 5-1-0 in its last six contests against the Islanders. The two teams meet again at Dallas on Sunday.

PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Stars 3

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140106/preview-stars-at-islanders