37-23-3-4, 81 pts
#3 Western Conf.
35-25-1-6, 77 pts
#4 Western Conf.
March 18th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
You've got to hope the boys enjoyed their time off over the past five days because tonight's game starts a 13 game in 23 day stretch that ends the season and will decide where Texas places in the final standings. Twelve of the thirteen games are against divisional opponents, and only five of them are at home. The first of those thirteen games is tonight against another team battling for the playoffs, the Milwaukee Admirals.
Milwaukee is currently seeded fourth in the division and is holding on to the last playoff spot in the West. Fellow Texan team, San Antonio, is only three games behind the Admirals, but the Ads have three games in hand over the Rampage. Milwaukee is definitely going to play tonight as if it were the playoffs. If they don't make it to the the third seed or better, they will have to face the juggernaut that is the Chicago Wolves. The Wolves have been killer for the Admirals, beating them in 6 of their 8 meetings on the year, most recently on Tuesday night by a score of 4-3. Admirals blog, Short Shifts, was not pleased by the performance.
Texas has not played since Saturday, a victory over the San Antonio Rampage in front of the sold-out Cedar Park Center. Brent Krahn got the start and the win, his 12th of the year in 14 decisions. Texas overall will play eight games against the Ads this season, tonight's game being the 6th. Texas is 3-2-0-0 against Milwaukee this season overall and 2-1-0-0 at home. The remaining games after tonight are both in Milwaukee at the Bradley Center.
The Ads are without a few of their top scorers from the last faceoff between these teams. Cal O'Reilly and Colin Wilson are both in Nashville, and Peter Olvecky was loaned to Manitoba. Milwaukee gained Marty Murray in return for loaning Peter Olvecky. Murray has 2 points (1-1-2) in two games for the Ads. Leadign scorers still on the roster for the Ads include Mike Santorelli (21-33-44), Robert Dietrich (5-32-37), and Hugh Jessiman (17-18-35). Triston Grant leads the team with 189 PIMs, and Dave Scatchard leads the league in shooting percentage at 24.1%.
The Ads are great on the road power play, connecting on 20.8% of their chances for the #3 ranking in the league. The road penalty kill is not as strong though, ranking #25 in the league at 79.1%. Of course, Texas's excellent PK is well documented, especially at home, killing 87.9% of chances for #3 in the league.
Milwaukee's netminders, Mark Dekanich and Chet Pickard, have done well this season. Dekanich was selected as the Goalie of the Month for February after posting a 5-1 record with 2 shutouts. Dekanich has been more human this month with a 1-4-1 record, a 2.39 GAA and .910 SV%, which match his year to date totals. Overall, Dekanich is 21-14-4 on the year. Pickard, a rookie, has only started one game this month, a loss to Peoria in which he allowed 3 goals on 21 shots. On the year, Pickard is 14-12-2 with 2.85 GAA and .891 SV%.
Stars injury/call up report:
Wilson (rib injury), Lindgren (upper-body), McCulloch (flu)
I'm going to go ahead and start including Jamie Benn on the "roster" list here since he was on the clear day roster. He'll always be a call up pretty much.
Also, there are four players now 'incapacitated' in one way or another from the clear day roster, so the Stars can enter two players who are 'in residence' on to their line-up.
The Stars are now carrying 8 defensemen and do not expect to send Tyler Ludwig down to Idaho.
Admirals Web Resources:
Blog (Official): In The Crease
Blog (Unofficial): Short Shifts (@Short_Shifts)