Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars at Peoria Rivermen

Texas Stars
27-13-3-4, 61 pts
#2 Western Conf.
atPeoria Rivermen
23-18-1-4, 51 pts
#9 Western Conf.
January 31st at 6:00 PM
Carver Arena, Peoria, IL

Peoria and Texas are both playing the 3rd game of a 3-in-3 set tonight. The Stars are on the road, so perhaps that gives them a slight disadvantage. Then again, the Stars are winners of 4 straight and the Rivermen have lost their past two.

Additionally, the Rivermen's last lost was a heartbreaker. As detailed in the AHL Round-up for yesterday, the Rivermen were up 4-0 on the Aeros in the third but then allowed 4 goals in a span of just 7:34 and ended up losing 5-4 in the shootout. It was a sparkling performance by Derek Armstrong of the Rivermen, who scored all of Peoria's goals in the game. We would be wise to watch out for him tonight.

Peoria and Texas have already played twice this year but will ultimately play eight games against each other. Texas has yet to defeat the Rivermen, going 0-1-1-0 so far in the season series.

Texas is scoring on the power play at will recently. They are 12/26 in their last seven games, scoring at least one power play goal in each game. The Rivermen are 25th in the league on the penalty kill at home with a 79.6% PK. The Stars definitely have room to exploit this trend. The Rivermen are good on the power play at home, ranking 7th in the league with 21.5%, but the Stars are just as good on the road on the PK at 5th in the league with 87.2%

They are also getting contributions from all across the ice; three of the four lines in last night's game scored. The only line without a goal was the Gazdic-Tousignant-Sawada line; the Morin line scored twice. Good team scoring is a key element for a team that doesn't always score in bunches. However, recently we have been. The Stars have scored an average of 4.14 goals per game over the last 7. This is while allowing an average of 1.43 goals against per game over the same span. That is a recipe for a killer team.

Last night the Stars got back to the other good trend that has helped them through this recent points streak. They did not allow a goal in the first period. One of the deadly sins that they kept committing was allowing that first goal, often very early in the period. It immediately puts you on your heels.

I think the recipe is simple. Score first on the power play and play good team defense. The Stars came out of a game that they got outshot in 2-to-1 with a win. It's because of quality of shots. That comes back to playing together as a team. Also, I think the team is having more fun now that they are back in the winning mood, which always helps.

Ford has to start tonight. He can't not start. There is no way you would play the same goalie three nights in a row, especially after taking nearly 80 shots in the two games prior. Commenter 'StarryEyed' noted that she asked Todd Ford last night if he would be starting after the warm-up. He said yes, but then Climie started. Wondering what led to that change...

Not that they would ever see it here, but I wanted to compliment the Peoria Rivermen on the great job they do keeping their fans informed on Twitter. You can see the kind of great work they do on their profile page, @Peoria_Rivermen. Would you appreciate if the @TexasStars did something similar?

Stars injury/call up report:
Wilson (stomach strain), Krahn (lower body)

Warren Peters will be back with the Texas Stars tonight after some paperwork issues kept him in Dallas for an extra day. The Stars currently have no call ups to the NHL.

5 comments:

  1. I would love it if the Stars had a twitter feed like Peoria's instead of just a link to a facebook page that links to their website.

    And as far as Climie and Ford, I get the feeling that Climie may be kinda bullying his way in, I don't know how he managed to make it work for the coaches, but watching the two in warm ups Climie seems to try to push Ford out of the way when Ford's taking shots and Climie wants to switch out. And I'm not 100% sure but I could have sworn the first two Stars I saw come out for warmups were Climie and Ford, in that order. I also noticed that every time I looked at the bench during the game Ford was standing up

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  2. The Stars pretty much fail all-around when it comes to internet stuff. No twitter feed, missing or incorrect player data on the website, really delayed updates on the Facebook page...I'm considering sending in a resume, I could do a better job!

    I wonder if some of the Climie/Ford drama is because we're about to have a very crowded net when Krahn comes back? Or because Ford did a good job of making Climie look bad (sorry Matt). So what DOES happen to Ford when Krahn is back in the lineup?

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  3. I think the only positive thing that has been done on the internet front is the message board. On the media side, there's not a lot of information sent out in press releases either. I think they could really use some help!

    As far as the Climie/Ford issue, the Stars have no idea what they are going to do with Todd Ford when Brent Krahn comes back. I think it would be a waste to just send him back to the Stingrays; he's 4-0-1-0 for crying out loud! What do you think we do?

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  4. There's not much we can do, it's not like they're gonna send Climie anywhere, he was a 2nd rounder, and he's been called up to Dallas before, so obviously somebody sees something in Climie that I don't, and we all know when Krahn gets back he's not losing his job, so short of either Climie or Krahn being involved in a trade, or carrying 3 goaltenders (I'm assuming that's not even allowed, but the AHL has all kinds of crazy roster rules, so it may be), they'll release Ford from his PTO, with the way he's played for us, I'd be amazed if another AHL team didn't sign him to another one shortly after though.

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  5. There are no roster limits for AHL teams, which is why there is no injured reserve, thusly no injury reports from the teams. sigh...

    We could have three goaltenders for a little bit, perhaps, while Krahn gets back into fighting shape. But I agree that we will probably see Ford suited up for some other AHL team come March.

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