Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer said there are multiple game-time decisions and moving parts ahead of Saturday’s matchup with the New York Islanders. And despite the media’s greatest efforts, he stuck to his wording.
“We’ve got some game-time decisions here to make,” he said. “I don’t want to confirm anything before the game tonight.”
We know that among those game-time decisions is Denis Gurianov. Gurianov has not played since Nov. 8 due to an upper-body injury. He has been skating with the team lately but has not taken much contact since the injury. Gurianov did not take part in the optional skate this morning.
If Gurianov can’t go. It is expected that the Stars will recall Matej Blumel, who was sent down following the injury to Scott Wedgewood. With Wedgewood feeling better and expected to back up for Jake Oettinger tonight, Dallas has room to bring up a skater from the AHL.
“Right now, we only have 12 [forwards],” DeBoer said when asked how they would line up without Gurianov. “There’s a lot of moving parts. We could call somebody up. We’ve got some moving parts tonight, that’s the bottom line.”
On the backend, more of the same. There is no known injury to any of the seven defensemen on the roster, but DeBoer did hint that one defender was dealing with something that could keep them out tonight.
“Not necessarily,” he said when asked if he would use the same D. “We’ve got a game-time decision there, so it will be six of those seven.”
“Uhhh…game-time decision,” he said with a smile when asked who the game-time decision was. “I hate this game as much as you guys.”
Focus on defending: The Stars have allowed five goals in three of the last four games. That is a bit concerning. But for DeBoer, it is all about looking at the bigger picture.
“I think when we’ve played the way we want to play, we’ve been really good defensively,” he said. “And I think our defensive metrics have been pretty good. The games we haven’t played well, we’ve leaked and given up more.”
“I would think the biggest thing on my radar right now is we have to clean up our penalties. Because I think it bleeds into all kinds of different parts of our game.”
The Stars have been shorthanded four or more times in nearly every game this season.
Starting goaltender: Jake Oettinger will make his 11th start of the season. He is 6-2-1 with a .927 save percentage and 2.23 goals-against average (fourth).
Stars Projected Lines
- Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Joe Pavelski
- Mason Marchment – Tyler Seguin – Matej Blumel/Denis Gurianov
- Jamie Benn – Wyatt Johnston – Ty Dellandrea
- Joel Kiviranta – Radek Faksa – Luke Glendening
- Miro Heiskanen – Colin Miller
- Ryan Suter – Nils Lundkvist
- Esa Lindell – Jani Hakanpaa
- Jake Oettinger
- Scott Wedgewood
Islanders Scouting Report
The Islanders have been a fairly consistent team this season, and not too dissimilar from the Stars. They sit third in the Metropolitan Division with an 11-7-0 record and have won six of nine games in the month of November.
Per the norm, the Islanders sit top-10 in goals-against and have received excellent goaltending from both Ilya Sorokin (.925%) and Semyon Varlamov (.920%).
In sort of a bizarre stat, Mathew Barzal leads the Islanders with 19 points. All 19 are assists, as he has yet to record his first goal of the season on 47 shots through 18 games.
He Said It
“You always want to be on the right side of those differentials,” DeBoer said. “But the bottom line is we’re taking too many penalties. We’ve got to clean that up.”