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Islanders vs. Stars Gameday: Calvin de Haan up; Kevin Poulin starts

Steve Staios sits out tonight due to a possible concussion [Newsday | FanShot discussion], so Calvin de Haan draws the lucky call to take his place. Also on the metaphorical ferry, Kevin Poulin has been recalled with Evgeni Nabokov being re-evaluated and feared not quite ready to go. Rick DiPietro is retroactively placed on IR to make room.

Dal-hubthin_medium Nyi-thinblade_medium
Stars (17-11-1, 6th/W) @ Islanders (9-13-6, 14th/E)
7 p.m. EST | MSG+ | Audio: NHL -
Nassau [
gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Mem. Coliseum
Defending Big D

While de Haan gets his formal NHL debut, Poulin will make his first NHL start of the year. After a great 10-game NHL debut last season (2.44, .924), Poulin's numbers have been rougher so far this season in Bridgeport (13 GP, 3.37, .892). The Stars will again start super-rookie Richard Bachman, who kindly shutout the Rangers Tuesday night.

[Post is updated with more tidbits below.]

When last these teams met, Mark Fistric "launched" himself in a Shanabannable way at Nino Niederreiter, who is now skating but still rebuilding his conditioning after sitting out thanks to the resulting concussion. Fistric's three-game suspension is now over, so he's eligible to return but will not have young Nino to target tonight [and, in fact, will not even be in the lineup. He's a scratch.].

Kari Lehtonen, such a key to the Stars' early surge, is still on IR but lately it hasn't mattered -- Salt Lake-born Bachman has offered one inspiring trio of games in a pinch. Bachman got 10 minutes of coffee with the Stars last year, but in this three-game stint he's allowed just one goal on 72 shots, spanning seven periods.

That's too bad, because last time we saw the Stars, Matt Moulson hung four goals on Andrew Raycroft. Then again, last time we saw the Stars, they hung four on Rick DiPietro. Fair's fair, I guess.

On that note, this is a rare kind of opponent for the Islanders: A team that both puts fewer shots on goal and gives up more shots on its own net. For the Stars, those figures are 28.2 for and 32.7 against (worst in the league) per game; for the Isles, it's 29.2 for and 31 against (20th in the league). Just get the puck to Moulson and see what happens, right?

Just for Fun: The Stars official site offers a fun photo montage of that team's trip to Long Island, with the usual nod to Father Of Son Of Nystrom.

Islanders Lineup

Again, the big news is Poulin starting and de Haan joining the fray. It appears de Haan will pair with sometimes Bridgeport partner Dylan Reese. Which is loading up on comfort (with each other) and offensive instincts, but not so much on defensive might.

If that sticks, it likely means Mark Streit and Travis Hamonic stay together, leaving ... Milan Jurcina and Mike Mottau. Well, we'll see about all that at game time.

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