Friday, December 10, 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars at Grand Rapids Griffins

Texas Stars
14-9-1-1, 30 pts
#6 West Division
atGrand Rapids Griffins
11-10-1-4, 27 pts
#6 North Division
December 10th at 6:00 PM
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI

Texas will look to rebound from setting some particularly bad records on Wednesday night against Rockford. In stark contrast to the Stars' record in Rockford, Texas has only won once in Van Andel Arena: their last contest of 2009-10 in the building, a 5-4 shootout victory. In fact, the Griffins have been dominate over the Stars in their history despite Grand Rapids dwelling at the bottom of the North Division standings. Texas finished the 2009-10 season with a 2-4-0-0 record against the Griffins, going 1-2-0-0 on the road and at home.

The Griffins' top scorers from last year (Rissmiller, Jeremy Williams) against the Stars have departed for other teams. Doug Janik, a former Stars prospect, has 1-5-6 in his 5 games against Texas lifetime. Jakub Kindl, who is down from Detroit on a conditioning assignment, was also potent against Texas with 1-3-4 in 5 games.

Grand Rapids is celebrating their Wednesday night game over Milwaukee as it snapped a 7 game home losing streak. Overall, the Griffins are 3-6-1-4 at home this season. They have had some trouble this season getting pucks to the net from their forwards, according to Coach Curt Fraser. The Milwaukee game was a good change for the Griffins as they got forward scoring, didn't get outplayed in the second, and played with a lead. The Griffins, indeed, have only won one game when trailing after the first and have yet to manufacture a come from behind victory in the third period. If Texas can get ahead of this team, they stand a chance.

Half of last year's goalie tandem remains as Daniel Larsson moved to the Swedish Elite League. Larsson had all of Grand Rapids' wins against the Stars last season. Thomas McCollum (5-8-2, 2.98 GAA, .889 SV%) has taken the lionshare of the load this year with Joey MacDonald earning a month-long callup to Detroit in November. MacDonald (4-2-1, 2.40 GAA, .904 SV%) is back in his starter role now for the Griffins after playing in one game in the NHL for Detroit.

Speaking of goaltenders, Texas has a bit of a situation on their hands. With Kari Lehtonen and Brent Krahn both on the mend, Texas is left with Tyler Beskorowany and Adrien LeMay to man the pipes. Beskorowany has not had an easy entry to the AHL, starting in 2 games and allowing 10 goals in 120 minutes of work. The 20 year old was unfortunately hung out to dry in Rockford on Wednesday owing to the lack of a legitimate backup goaltender. If Beskorowany can control his rebounds better against the Griffins, he has a better chance.

Stars injury/call up report:
Krahn (day-to-day lower body)
McCulloch (upper body)
Bachman, Gagnon, Fortunus (call up)
Fistric (In Texas on Conditioning)

Website: griffinshockey.com
Twitter: @GriffinsHockey
Blog: Griffins Hockey on MLive.com

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