Islanders-Stars Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 03, 2011
Contributions from some unexpected sources continue to help the Dallas Stars achieve success. Expecting that same widespread production, the Stars look for a third consecutive victory and aim to continue their recent success against the visiting New York Islanders on Saturday night. While top-line players like Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Mike Ribeiro and Michael Ryder have consistently paced Dallas (15-9-1) offensively, the recent play of third-line grinders Eric Nystrom, Radek Dvorak and Vernon Fiddler has helped the Stars win four of six following a five-game skid. Dvorak had a goal and an assist, Nystrom scored the go-ahead goal and Fiddler added an assist Thursday in Dallas' 3-2 victory over Ottawa. At least one member of that line has had a hand in eight of the Stars' 16 goals over the last six games. "There's no special formula to what we're doing,'' said Nystrom, who has four goals and two assists during the team's strong six-game stretch. "We're just working hard, getting in on the forecheck, shooting the puck and getting to spots where we can get shots off. It's not like we're doing anything fancy, we're just grinding away and it's been working.'' Acquired from Minnesota in an Oct. 12 trade, Nystrom has nine goals in 20 games this season - two goals shy of his career high set with Calgary in 2009-10, when he played all 82 games. "I just think you see some maturity now with him, and getting around the net, he has some more poise," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said of the six-year veteran. "He still works as hard as he ever did and he's putting them in." Nystrom, whose father Bob starred for the Islanders during their Stanley Cup dynasty years of the early 1980s, has a goal and an assist in three career games versus New York. The Stars have scored 17 goals during a four-game winning streak over the Islanders (7-11-5), whose last victory in the series came 3-0 at Dallas on Nov. 15, 2006. Benn had a goal while Ribeiro added two assists in the Stars' 5-4 shootout win at New York on Oct. 9, 2010. Starting in place of the injured Kari Lehtonen, Dallas' Andrew Raycroft has stopped 68 of 71 shots to win the last two games after losing his first four starts of the season. Raycroft could have the chance for a third consecutive victory Saturday while facing an Islanders team that fell to 2-0-1 on a four-game trip after a 5-4 shootout loss at Chicago on Friday. Matt Moulson and P.A. Parenteau each had a goal and an assist for New York, which was 0-5-2 away from home before opening this trip with one-goal victories at New Jersey and Buffalo. "It was a back-and-forth game," Moulson said of Friday's loss. "In those types of situations you have to keep coming, no matter what happens." Moulson, who has goals in three straight games, scored against the Stars last season. Parenteau had two assists in that contest, and has three on the current trip. Islanders forward John Tavares added two assists Friday to snap a six-game point drought.
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