46-27-3-4, 99 pts
#2 West Division
49-24-1-6, 105 pts
#1 West Division
Series tied 2-2
May 7th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
Texas plays their last home game of the second round tonight in Cedar Park. With the series tied at two games a piece, it has essentially becomes a best of three. Chicago has two more home games, and Texas has only one, tonight's contest in Cedar Park.
Brent Krahn brought down his GAA to 2.19 with the game on Wednesday. His .929 SV% puts him at third in the league behind Jonathan Bernier in Manchester and Tyler Plante in Rochester. However, it really isn't about having the #1 goaltender in the playoffs. It's about having your goaltender elevate their game when they are called upon to do so. As Coach Gulutzan said postgame on Wednesday: "In a seven game series, you don't need great goaltending every night; you need your good goalie to bounce back..."
It seems trite because it's such a mantra at every level in the playoffs, but the keys to this series so far have been special teams and the first goal. Chicago has the #1 power play in the playoffs at 34.1%. Fourteen of their thirty-four goals have been scored on the power play across all 11 of their playoff games. Meanwhile, Texas, which had been #2 in the league on the PK in the regular season, is struggling to contain the high powered Chicago PP. Texas has the second worst PK record in the playoffs at 71.0%. Who's in last place? That would be Chicago's round one opponent, the Milwaukee Admirals, with 69.2%. That tells me that it's not the failings of Texas's PK that are causing those goals-against; it's the sheer power of the Chicago PP.
With Travis Morin's two goals on Wednesday, he is now tied for the rookie scoring lead in the post season with 9 points (2-7-9). Jamie Benn is right behind him in rookie scoring with 4-4-8.
Texas has had great output from their blue liners in the post season as well, as would be expected and demanded from a defensive team. Maxime Fortunus and Dan Jancevski are tied for the lead in plus-minus with plus-8 ratings. Jancevski is also on the leaderboard for points with 1-5-6. Andrew Hutchinson leads all defenseman on the Stars with 3-4-7. Nathan Oystrick for the Wolves leads all defenseman in the series with 2-7-9.
Texas and Chicago should have an interesting game with regard to physicality tonight.
Warren Peters has been suspended as a result of his actions in Game 4. It is only a 1 game suspension, so he will be back on Sunday. The release came out after I had already published the gameday preview. It's a big loss for Texas in the physicality department. It also breaks up the line of Wathier-Peters-Sawada that had been very effective so far in the playoffs. Peters is also effective in the faceoff circle, and Texas will lose that tonight. Sergei Korostin and Cody Chupp are the only players eligible to slide into the lineup for Peters. I expect Korostin.
Stars injury/call up report:
Garrett Stafford (suspension, game 3 of 3)
Warren Peters (suspension, game 1 of 1)
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