Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Grand Rapids Griffins

Texas Stars
29-15-3-4, 65 pts
#1 West Division
v.Grand Rapids Griffins
22-28-0-1, 45 pts
#7 North Division
February 9th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
(Starting today, I am going to start using the team's rank in the division for the gameday preview header, since that is how teams are selected for the playoffs.)
The Stars continue their home stand against the Grand Rapids Griffins tonight at the CPC. The Griffins and Stars have tangled three times on the season, twice in Texas and once in Grand Rapids. The Griffins are the owners of the third worst record in the AHL. Despite this, Texas has yet to come out on top in either of their home games against them. Their only win in the season series was a 4-1 win at Grand Rapids on November 20th. The Stars lost the other two contests 2-0 on October 15th and 4-2 on December 19th.

The Griffins, as their record would suggest, are not doing so hot in the standings this year. They are 2-8-0-0 in their last ten games with wins against Toronto and Hamilton in that stretch. Grand Rapids allows the 4th most goals in the league per game while Texas allows the second fewest. Grand Rapids does rank above Texas in the goal scoring category, with 3.02 goals per game to Texas's 2.92. I think the stout Texas defense will balance out that equation though.

Grand Rapids is the worst team in the AHL on the penalty kill on the road at 70.7%. Sadly, they don't take penalties as frequently as some in the AHL, ranking 7th fewest with 15.08 minutes per game.

Texas is coming off a good statement game after two disappointing matches. The team bounced back with a 5-0 drubbing of the Peoria Rivermen, a 41 save shutout by Matt Climie. Other players that are currently rocking it out include recent goal scorers Travis Morin and Greg Rallo, who are #1 and #2 on the team in scoring. Morin ranks #7 in rookie scoring with 34 points on the season.

Patrick Rissmiller and Jeremy Williams lead the Griffins with similar point totals to the Texas leaders at 35 and 33 points each. Grand Rapids has a few players on their roster who've spent most of the season on the NHL roster. Justin Abdelkader was recently sent down due to lack of performance in Detroit and has played in five games for the Griffins. Andreas Lilja is in Grand Rapids on a conditioning assignment after coming back from a concussion. He will be there for at least another week and a half. He has played in three games so far and is a -2 with no points recorded, one shot and four penalty minutes.

I expect Matt Climie in net, but again, I've pretty much given up making pronouncements on such things.

Stars injury/call up report:
Wilson (stomach strain), Krahn (sports hernia)
Sawada and Wathier (call up)

Website: griffinshockey.com
Twitter: @GriffinsHockey

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