The New York Islanders are a hot team with an impossible dream, and the next three randomly placed stops on their road trip will do a lot to tell us whether they should keep dreaming or wake up to the (almost) inevitable.
Before a back-and-forth back-to-back in Raleigh and St. Louis on Friday, they take on the Stars in Dallas tonight. Unlike many of their victims during the current 11-3-1 run that has them 11 points back of Washington, these three games are against legit opponents who are either playoff-bound or right in the thick of the race.
The Stars are just one point back of wild card holders Vegas with three games in hand.
Currently on a four-game win streak, the Isles returned Cory Schneider to Bridgeport after his feel-good debut and win on Sunday, so Ilya Sorokin is again available. Other than confirming Semyon Varlamov as the starter in net tonight, Barry Trotz said all players are healthy and available.
The Stars are coming off a compressed four-game Western trip and will be glad to be home with a day to recover. Check more on them at Defending Big D.
First Islanders Goal picks (by gametime) go here.
Game time is 8:30 p.m. EDT.