Lineup Changes Will Spur Stars Past Islanders

Dana Lane

Friday, November 10, 2017 6:08 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 6:08 PM UTC

There will be some line shakeups for the Dallas Stars as they host the New York Islanders at the American Airlines Center on Friday. Puck drop at 8 p.m. ET.

NHL Free Pick: Stars -135Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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New York Islanders at Dallas Stars

We’re getting into that time of year when injuries play a major role in a team's performance. Those injuries likely will produce negative results but sometimes will reveal a silver lining, which is what I’m counting on tonight as Dallas hosts the NY Islanders.

The Stars have fallen to the injury bug again, mimicking their issue from a season ago. They’re especially hurting on the right side of the ice where they have one NHL winger with game experience on that side in Alexander Radulov as Brett Ritchie and Tyler Pitlick are battling injuries. Ritchie was moved to the IR with an upper body injury, retroactive to Oct. 30, and Pitlick has battled an undisclosed injury for a few days. It's not likely that either will be ready for tonight as Curtis McKenzie has been recalled from the Texas Stars. Jason Spezza and Devon Shore will mostly aid on that depleted right side.

In addition, defensemen Marc Methot has missed practice time this week and is unlikely to play. With Methot out of the lineup it forces Ken Hitchcock to shuffle the pairings. Esa Lindell will likely be with John Klingberg and Jamie Oleksiak will skate alongside Stephen Johns. Dan Hamhuis and Greg Pateryn will likely make up the third pairing.

It didn’t work in Chicago on our Thursday NHL pick but we’re going back to the window to bet a team that is going to make some changes in their lineup as Hitchcock indicated they would. Jamie Benn will play center in an attempt to get him the puck more. Benn has been fantastic this season, averaging a point a game on the wing. Putting him with Radulov and Gemel Smith is intriguing enough to raise an eyebrow and reach into my wallet to support them financially. I still think there is plenty of skill and speed on this team to win; in fact, the Stars look a little more offensively balanced. Normally they are top heavy.

The betting public has made a move on the Islanders, who are 6-3-1 in their last 10. With more than 55% of all bets coming in on the Islanders the number has moved from Dallas -138 to a consensus -125 according to the SBR NHL odds page. Good news for us because I think Hitchcock’s changes are going to work. Ben Bishop will start between the pipes for the Stars against Thomas Greiss for the Islanders.

From a trend perspective, the home team in this series has won five of the last six meetings. The Stars have been a sensational bounce-back team off of losses of three or more goals, going 27-9 over their last 36 chances.

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