46-27-3-4, 99 pts
#2 West Division
49-24-1-6, 105 pts
#1 West Division
Series tied 3-3
May 11th at 7:00 PM
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
The Texas Stars and the Chicago Wolves faceoff tonight in a 'one game playoff' to decide who will face Hamilton in the West Conference finals. This game seven is the first in the Texas Stars history. The Chicago Wolves just came off a seven game series against the Milwaukee Admirals, who took them to the brink before falling in #7.
The big story here is clearly the injury to Brent Krahn. There is no indication at this point as to the severity or nature of his injury other than it was somehow head related. Many, including Wolves fans, are pointing to a play at the net just before the Stars took their first penalty of the night in the game where Andrew Hutchinson hooked Nathan Oystrick at the net. On the play, some part of Oystrick's body made contact with Krahn's head and forced it into the post. Fans in the offensive zone indicated that Krahn did not seem the same from that point to when he removed himself from the game.
No matter what, we know that Krahn will not play in Game 7 tonight. Matt Climie will get his first playoff start of the year, backed up by Richard Bachman. Bachman, who was pulled from a game recently due to injury, backed up Rejean Beauchemin on Saturday in Idaho's win over Stockton. Coach Laxdal indicated he was "day-to-day" with his injury, the nature of which was also unknown to the general public.
On the Wolves side, Drew MacIntyre, who had a strong outing in Game 6, may well get the start. Peter Mannino had started all the prior games for the Wolves but got pulled in Game 5 in Texas, which the Stars won 5-3. It remains to be seen if MacIntyre's performance from Sunday is repeatable. He had been less than memorable in all of his previous relief appearances throughout the playoffs. Now though, he stands at #2 in the playoffs with a 1.84 GAA and .914 SV%. Which one is the real Drew MacIntyre?
The formula for Texas is simple when you write it down, but hard to execute. First, limit the 'dumb' penalties. With the Chicago PP kicking in at 31.4%, those are not good odds. And for goodness sake, put a man on Anthony Stewart. The forward has 9 goals in the playoffs and 6 power play tallies. But even if the Stars go 100% on the PK, each unnecessary penalty is two unnecessary minutes spent in the Stars defensive zone. This limits shots, which limits goals. The Stars also need Jamie Benn to step up again. His breakout game was Game 5, but he was almost unnoticeable in Game 6. Big time players step up in big time games, so let's see it, Jamie. Finally, the Stars have to make sure that this game doesn't become a track meet. Chicago has a faster pace to their game that will kill the Stars, who have a more defensive and slower paced game.
Stars injury/call up report:
Blog (official): UnMic'd with Jason Shaver
Blog (unofficial): Call of the Wild
Message Board: Wolves Forum