Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
7-8-0-1, 15 pts
#11 Western Conference
v.Chicago Wolves
7-6-0-2, 16 pts
#9 Western Conference
November 23rd at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The Chicago Wolves come to town this Thanksgiving Eve for their second game against the Texas Stars this season, the first between the two in Central Texas. Texas is coming off a bad effort loss to the Aeros on Saturday while Chicago had a four game winning streak broken up on Saturday with a 4-3 loss to the San Antonio Rampage.

Texas will be minus one of their best players in this game as Tomas Vincour is in the NHL with Dallas. Vincour played only 8:16 in Monday's game against the Oilers, but he made a solid impact whether it was in the checking game or with some finesse in front of the net. Texas will miss his .87 points per game. He was the only goal scorer in the Stars' only other game against Chicago, a 2-1 loss.

The loss of Vincour juggles the lines, which were already in flux, once again. The lines of Sawada-Morin-Fraser and Vincour-Garbutt-Wathier were mixed up to the below:

Wathier-Morin-Vincour
Sawada-Sceviour-Fraser
Glennie-Gazdic-Garbutt

It worked Friday; it didn't work Saturday. In fact, coach Pyle began shuffling lines throughout the second and third to try new combinations and see what would work. The third period was better, but the lines weren't the impetus. The simpler style of play slowed things down and lower the chances for Houston.

The Stars will likely see an old friend in net for the Wolves tonight, Matt Climie. Climie is the Wolves top tender at the moment. He is sharing time with last year's top rookie, Eddie Lack, but has a 5-2-0 record compared to Lack's 2-4-2 effort. Darren Haydar, predictably, leads the Wolves in scoring with 7 goals and 12 assists, 10 points higher than the next closest skater. There are some strange curiosities on the roster though as plus-minus ratings vary wildly from a minus-6 by top players Mark Mancari and Kevin Connauton to an outlier plus-12 (!) for Mark Matheson. The next closest plus player is at plus-7.

Chicago is #4 in the league on the PK with an 87.3%. Texas's power play, which has now fallen to #2 in the league behind the Bears, will have a tough time with this crew. If they can get opportunities and score on them, the night will go well.

Additionally, a very interesting stat for Texas: The Stars are winless when trailing after any period (0-3-0-1 trailing after 1st, 0-5-0-0 trailing after 2nd) but are unbeaten when leading after any period (4-0-0-0 when leading after 1st, 7-0-0-0 when leading after 2nd).

Stars injury/call up report:
Larsen, Vincour (callup)

Website: chicagowolves.com
Blog (official): UnMic'd with Jason Shaver
Twitter: @Chicago_Wolves
Twitter: @theshaves (Wolves PxP)

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