The first road trip for a team can provide some real answers, especially as to who the team truly is and how talented they really are. After playing their strongest game of the year against the New York Rangers, the Stars stumbled and played their worst last night against the New Jersey Devils. So far there aren't many answers, only more questions. Tonight could possibly show fans who the Dallas Stars are.
"If you give up five goals on 20 shots, you're not going to win," Stars coach, Dave Tippett, said after the Devils game. "You could be the 1980 Oilers, you're still not going to win."
Clearly defense and goaltending heading into tonight’s game are the critical issue. Adding to the issue is the fact the Oilers have begun a new hard fore checking system thanks to new head coach Scott Gordon. As far as tonight goes, it could be a game time decision on the starting goalie.
Personally, I say start Turco and make the point that your winning or losing behind him. Moreover, Tobias Stephan is not ready to be the starter for several games in a row so Turco must be started. DiPietro is expected to start for the Islanders.
"I felt good," DiPietro said in the preview on the Stars website. "It's nice to, obviously, be back and contribute. Unfortunately, we lost, obviously, but nice to get my feet wet and finally see some action."
Injuries according to the Dallas Morning News:
Dallas: D Doug Janik (eye) is questionable. RW Jere Lehtinen (groin) and D Sergei Zubov (hip) are out.
NY Islanders: D Chris Campoli (shoulder) is doubtful. C Josh Bailey (lower body), D Radek Martinek (upper body), C Mike Sillinger (hip) and D Andy Sutton (hand) are out.
Ken’s Keys to the game:
The Stars of late have seemed so focused on scoring they forget about defense. Mix this with sophomore nerves from the young defenseman and a struggling Turco, and you have a team on the verge of a major slump. The Stars must focus on the defensive end, focus on protecting Turco (or Stephan), and then add in the scoring offense.
The Stars have plenty of weapons up front but without a strong defense and protecting the net, even a weak team like the Islanders could have an easy time dismantling the Stars.
Dallas will face the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum tonight at 6pm Central. The game will be televised live in Texas on Fox Sports Net – Southwest, and on the radio at WBAP-AM 820. The Stars will then leave for Dallas to face the Washington Capitals on October 25 at American Airlines Center.
Ken Armer is the NHL Community Coordinator for Bleacher Report as well as serving as the Community Leader for the Dallas Stars. He can be contacted on his profile or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image: Courtesy of Getty Images via Dallas Stars website. (Stars-Isles preview linked below)
Quotes: Courtesy of Stars vs. Islanders preview from the Dallas Stars website.
Injury Information: Courtesy of the Dallas Morning News Stars vs. Islanders preview by Mike Heika