Dallas Stars

Tavares’ two goals give new Islanders coach opening win

New York Islanders center John Tavares was a pain in the side of Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen on Thursday night. While Lehtonen blocked this shot, Tavares had a first-period goal and a third-period score on a breakaway in the Islanders’ 3-0 victory.
New York Islanders center John Tavares was a pain in the side of Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen on Thursday night. While Lehtonen blocked this shot, Tavares had a first-period goal and a third-period score on a breakaway in the Islanders’ 3-0 victory. AP

John Tavares narrowly missed out on his second hat trick in a week, Thomas Greiss got his second straight shutout and the New York Islanders beat the Dallas Stars 3-0 on Thursday night in their first game since firing longtime coach Jack Capuano.

New York canned Capuano in the middle of his seventh season Tuesday, replacing him on an interim basis with Doug Weight.

Tavares has seven goals in four games after scoring twice and then having an empty-net shot just deflected wide late in the third period. He had three goals last Friday at Florida.

Greiss stopped 23 shots after making 32 saves in a 4-0 win over Boston on Monday.

Calvin de Haan added an empty-net goal on a coast-to-coast shot with four seconds left.

Kari Lehtonen made 33 saves for Dallas, including breakaway denials on Tavares and Shane Prince. The Stars were coming off a wild 7-6 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, but dropped to 3-12-4 in games following a victory this season.

Tavares got his 17th goal with 6:29 left in the first period. After taking a pass from Anders Lee, the All-Star slid the puck behind John Klingberg while cutting in front of the Dallas defenseman, met the puck on the other side of Klingberg and smacked it past Lehtonen for a 1-0 lead.

Tavares also scored on a short-handed breakaway with 3:06 left in the game, going to the forehand to beat Lehtonen with a low shot. Dallas entered trailing Philadelphia by one for the league lead in short-handed goals allowed.

Weight was an assistant GM and coach with New York before his promotion this week. The last-place Islanders entered Thursday eight points shy of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, though they have games in hand on nearly the entire league.

Weight said Wednesday that he doesn’t plan to “reinvent the wheel” as interim coach, but said New York was “going to tweak some things in certain systems.”

The power play is one obvious area that needs improvement, with New York entering Thursday ranked 28th in the league. The Isles had a dangerous first man-advantage Thursday, getting four shots on Lehtonen during Adam Cracknell’s hooking minor in the first period.

Weight got creative after that, with less encouraging results. New York shuffled the unit during a trio of second-period power plays, even keeping Tavares on the bench for long stretches.

Lehtonen’s breakaway saves kept it close. He denied Tavares on a rising wrist shot in the first period, then stopped Prince’s sweeping deke with a sliding leg save.

Briefly

▪ Tavares was recognized during the first period for getting his 500th NHL point last week at Florida.

▪ New York F Josh Bailey played his 600th NHL game.

▪ Islanders D Johnny Boychuk sat out because of an upper-body injury. He played Monday night against the Bruins, but also missed the previous game. The team said he is day-to-day, and Weight said Boychuk’s scratch was “precautionary.”

▪ Isles Andrew Ladd (upper-body injury) and Cal Clutterbuck (lower-body injury) each missed their second straight games. Both are day-to-day.

▪ Dallas defensemen Johnny Oduya and Jamie Oleksiak were scratched with injuries. Oduya aggravated an ankle injury against the Rangers, and Oleksiak is dealing with an upper-body issue.

▪ UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes was at the game with her title belt. Nunes knocked out MMA superstar Ronda Rousey for the championship on Dec. 30.

Up next

Stars: Return to Texas for a six-game homestand beginning with a game Saturday night against Washington.

Islanders: Continue their six-game homestand when the Kings play here Saturday night.

Dallas

0

0

0

0

N.Y. Islanders

1

0

2

3

First Period—1, N.Y. Islanders, Tavares 17 (Lee), 13:31. Penalties—Cizikas, NYI, (tripping), 1:54; Cracknell, DAL, (hooking), 9:32; Sharp, DAL, (roughing), 16:27.

Second Period—None. Penalties—Hickey, NYI, Major (fighting), 1:42; Faksa, DAL, Major (fighting), 1:42; Faksa, DAL, served by Seguin, (roughing), 1:42; Cracknell, DAL, (hooking), 13:21; Faksa, DAL, (tripping), 17:42.

Third Period—2, N.Y. Islanders, Tavares 18 (Kulemin), 16:54 (sh). 3, N.Y. Islanders, De haan 3 (Greiss), 19:56. Penalties—Quine, NYI, (holding), 3:09; Benn, DAL, major (high sticking), 3:56; Mayfield, NYI, (slashing), 14:59; Roussel, DAL, (roughing), 20:00; Roussel, DAL, (roughing), 20:00.

Shots on Goal—Dallas 10-5-8—23. N.Y. Islanders 10-16-10—36. Power-play opportunities—Dallas 0 of 3; N.Y. Islanders 0 of 7. Goalies—Dallas, Lehtonen 9-13-4 (35 shots-33 saves). N.Y. Islanders, Greiss 12-7-2 (23-23). A—12,630 (15,813). T—2:28.

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