Monday, January 13, 2014
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Streaking Islanders stop Stars

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[January 13, 2014]  DALLAS  For the second time in six days, the New York Islanders got the better of the Dallas Stars, prevailing 4-2 on Sunday night by scoring three times in the game's final 4:16 at American Airlines Center.

On Monday, the Islanders beat the Stars 7-3 at Nassau Coliseum.

In both losses, Dallas had led 2-0 after one period.

Right winger Kyle Okposo scored twice for the Islanders, including the game-tying goal with 4:16 remaining in regulation. Islanders center John Tavares then delivered the eventual game-winner with 1:24 remaining and center Brock Nelson added an empty-net goal with 52 seconds remaining.

"That's a good hockey team," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said of Dallas. "They've got a lot of speed on that team there and they can give you trouble. I was proud of the guys and the effort. They were resilient tonight."

New York left winger Thomas Vanek and defenseman Calvin de Haan each had two assists, joining Okposo and Tavares, who had a goal and an assist, as players with multiple points for the visitors.

The Islanders (18-22-7, 43 points) won their seventh straight road game while Dallas (20-18-7, 47 points) lost its sixth straight game in regulation for the first time since the 1995-96 season.

"We turned the puck over too many times," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We gave them breakaways. Dan (Ellis) made probably three or four great saves to keep the score where it was at. It caught up to us."


New York goaltender Kevin Poulin stopped 29 shots in the win. Dallas had led for 37:32 prior to Okposo's second goal of the night.

"(He made) spectactular saves and I know he was a little frustrated on the couple he let in," Okposo said. "Came in here and just told him he just kept us in the game and we're going to go out there and have a better effort and that's what he did. He shut the door and that's all you can ask for."

Dallas struck first 11:45 into the game when left winger Ray Whitney scored his fifth of the season with a wrister from the left circle that went under Poulin's glove. Stars center Vernon Fiddler picked up the secondary assist after sacrificing himself behind the New York goal by taking a hit from Islanders defenseman Matt Donovan.

Prior to the hit, Fiddler laid the puck off to rookie right winger Alex Chiasson, who quickly passed it to Whitney, who then delivered his first goal since Dec. 21, 2013.

[to top of second column]

With 4:14 remaining before the first intermission, New York right winger Cal Clutterbuck had a breakaway with the Islanders shorthanded, but Stars goaltender Dan Ellis stopped his bid to tie the game with a pad save.

Dallas went ahead by a pair when defenseman Sergei Gonchar capitalized on an Islanders' mistake in their own zone with 1:48 left in the opening period. Islanders center Frans Nielsen passed the puck to Nelson, but when Nelson couldn't control the puck, Gonchar gained possession and beat Poulin with a wrister from the high slot for his first goal with the Stars.

The Stars had another great chance 1:12 into the second when left winger Erik Cole rushed in front of the New York goal from the right side of the ice. However, Cole's wrister from the slot instead found the crossbar.

New York pulled to within a goal when Okposo sent a wrister from the right circle through Ellis' legs at 10:47 of the second period. Okposo's goal culminated a nice display of passing from Vanek and Tavares.

The Islanders were down to five healthy defensemen in the third period when defenseman Travis Hamonic wasn't able to return to the ice.

"(Harmonic) just wasn't feeling well," Capuano said. "We'll re-evaluate him tomorrow and know more tomorrow."

The Islanders nearly tied it with 9:48 remaining in regulation when Vanek fed it to Okposo from behind the Dallas net. However, Vanek's wrister from the slot was deflected high by Ellis.

Ellis stopped 27 shots in the loss.

NOTES: Islanders LW Eric Boulton, D Matt Carkner and C Peter Regin were scratched. ... Stars C Dustin Jeffrey and D Aaron Rome were scratched. ... The Islanders were playing their third game of a six-game road trip. ... Stars G Dan Ellis got his first start in three games. Ellis started a 5-1 loss to Detroit on Jan. 4 but was pulled after one period after allowing three goals on 13 shots by the Red Wings. ... Islanders RW Kyle Okposo scored his 18th goal of the season midway through the second period, giving him 12 goals over his past 19 games. ... The first-period goal by Dallas LW Ray Whitney, his fifth of the season, was his first in seven games. ... Representatives from seven NHL clubs were in the press box. ... Announced attendance was 13,765.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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