March 03, 2015

Tyler Seguin and reigning Art Ross Trophy winner Jamie Benn make up the league's highest-scoring duo for the Dallas Stars.

Only Benn will be able to help keep Dallas atop the Western Conference.

The Stars are forced to play at least the rest of the regular season without the injured Seguin, beginning with Saturday night's visit from the New York Islanders.

Benn ranks behind only Chicago's Patrick Kane with 80 points and is followed closely by Seguin, who has 33 goals and 40 assists. That production has helped the Stars (42-21-9) lead the West by two points over St. Louis and Los Angeles with 10 games to play, although the Kings have two in hand.

Benn scored in the second period Thursday against Tampa Bay, then assisted on Stephen Johns' tying goal in the third before scoring two minutes later in a 4-3 victory as Dallas snapped a 1-1-2 slump. His last goal marked his career-high 36th.

The victory was marred, though, when Seguin suffered a cut to his Achilles tendon during the final shift of the game. General manager Jim Nill addressed the media Friday and said Seguin underwent surgery that morning to stitch a 15 percent cut of the tendon.

Seguin will be out three to four weeks with the hope that he can return for the start of the playoffs.

"It's as good of a case scenario as it could be considering where he got cut," Nill said. "Another eighth of an inch and it could've severed the whole thing. It's really just time to heal now."

The Stars for now plan to move forward without making a call-up from the AHL after Patrick Sharp returned from a lower-body injury that kept him out the previous six. The offense certainly will take a hit with Seguin out, but Benn is more concerned about the Stars' defensive game.

Dallas has allowed 13 goals over its last three games and at least three in 11 of 14.

"We definitely want to get the goals against down," Benn said. "I thought our third period (Thursday) was our strongest, and we found a way to win."

New York (38-22-9) has outscored the Stars 26-18 while winning four of the last five meetings, including a 6-5 victory Jan. 3 when 12 Islanders recorded a point. Kyle Okposo and Cal Clutterbuck had two goals apiece.

The Islanders, though, are in the midst of a 1-2-2 stretch and will try to salvage the last of their three-game road trip. Ryan Pulock scored his first NHL goal and Brock Nelson added one in the third of Thursday's 4-2 loss to Nashville.

New York is clinging to a one-point lead over Pittsburgh for the Metropolitan Division's last automatic playoff berth.

''It's been the same theme for us," coach Jack Capuano said. "It's the common denominator that we try to make the sexy play and we don't want to get pucks to the net."

Mikhail Grabovski isn't likely to play after being sent back to New York because of an upper-body injury. He returned for Tuesday's shootout loss to the Penguins after missing the previous 10 but sat out against the Predators.

Thomas Greiss continues to get the work in net with Jaroslav Halak out for at least a few more weeks. He faced 41 shots in the first meeting with the Stars.

Antti Niemi could be in net for Dallas looking to snap out of his slump. He has a 4.72 goals-against average in his last six starts.

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