By Associated Press - Sunday, December 23, 2018

DALLAS (AP) - Anders Lee scored one of the most unusual of his 137 career goals on Sunday night - and it wasn’t even the most bizarre goal of the game.

Nick Leddy’s shot from the top of the slot hit the left post and caromed to Anton Khudobin’s right skate, where Lee poked the puck between the Dallas goalie’s legs for a tiebreaking power-play goal with 10:10 to play that sent the New York Islanders to a 3-1 victory over the Stars.

“We’ve had a couple of odd ones like that,” Lee said. “Good things happen when you get pucks to the net. Huge little boost for us, a little momentum swing. They don’t always ask how they go in.”

The Islanders’ first two goals went in off Khudobin, actually.

Tyler Pitlick scored the game’s first goal for the Stars in the second period before Casey Cizikas tied it with a fluke goal at 14:10. Cizikas skated behind the net and shot a backhand that went off Khudobin’s mask and back before dropping behind the goal line.

“It hit my head, bent over,” Khudobin said. “It hit the bar of the net. It started rolling back (down) and hit my back.”

Bad breaks?

“Yeah, lucky ones. It happens in hockey,” he said.

Leo Komarov added an empty-net goal with a minute remaining.

Khudobin finished with 25 saves.

Islanders goalie Robin Lehner made 19 saves, six in the third period against a listless Dallas offense on the second night of a back-to-back.

“You kind of get used to these types of games,” Lehner said. “There’s long periods of time when you don’t have much to do but (are) required to make a save here and there. I’m getting more comfortable with it.”

Pitlick, a healthy scratch Saturday night at Minnesota, wouldn’t accept fatigue or losing a center to injury each night as an excuse.

“It’s tough that the guys have to double shift, especially coming off a back-to-back. But we’ve got to find a way to dig in and get those points,” he said.

New York has won four of its last five games to move within two points of Pittsburgh for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Stars had won two of three. Dallas dropped behind Edmonton in the race for the Western Conference’s second wild card.

In the first period, the Islanders outshot Dallas 9-7 and had two power plays to the Stars’ one. There were no shots on goal during any of the three man advantages.

Pitlick scored 6:20 into the second. He stickhandled in from the left along the goal line, moved the puck to his forehand and shot it inside the right post.

“I was looking to pass but they just kind of let me walk in,” Pitlick said.

Islanders coach Barry Trotz liked the result, especially with the team heading into a four-day holiday break.

“We took a high-octane type of team and shut them down for the most part. There’s some pretty dynamic talent on that team. We did a really good job against their top players,” Trotz said.

NOTES: Each team started its No. 2 goaltender. … Islanders D Devon Toews, 24, made his NHL debut because Johnny Boychuk returned to New York with his wife due to deliver their third child. … Dallas C Jason Dickinson was scratched from the lineup after leaving Saturday’s game because of an upper-body injury. C Martin Hanzal (upper body) did not play after the first period. … The players wearing No. 47, Komarov and Stars RW Alexander Radulov, scrapped and drew roughing penalties twice in the second period. Radulov had 20 penalty minutes in his first 26 games but added eight more against the Islanders. … Entering the game, New York and Dallas were among the seven NHL teams that had allowed fewer than 100 goals. The Islanders now have given up 98 and the Stars 102.


Islanders: Return home to face Ottawa on Friday.

Stars: Play at Nashville on Thursday.


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