Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Toronto Marlies

Texas Stars
4-5-0-0, 8 pts
#12 Western Conference
v.Toronto Marlies
5-3-1-0, 11 pts
#3 Western Conference
November 3rd at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

After a long layoff for the Texas Stars, the Toronto Marlies come to town for their only visit of the season. Texas will travel to Toronto in March for the return visit. The Marlies are a hot team thanks to big scoring up front and solid goaltending in back. Unfortunately for them, some of that punch has been taken out of the picture thanks to callups by the Maple Leafs.

First, there is recently named Player of the Month for October, Joe Colborne, who leads the team and the league with 8-8-16 in 9 games. Colborne has had three 3-point games on the season. Right after him is Joey Crabb with 7-8-15 in 9 games. Crabb was just recently recalled to the NHL, however, and will not be in Cedar Park for the Marlies. He was replaced on the roster by NHL assignee Matt Frattin, a 2007 draft pick for the Leafs who has just one assist in 11 games in the NHL.

Also a large part of the puzzle, Ben Scrivens, will be out of the lineup for Toronto as well. He was recently recalled to back up Jonas Gustavsson with Reimer out for an extended period. Scrivens has four of the Marlies' five wins on the year. Jussi Rynnas is 1-3-0 with a 2.51 GAA and .910 SV%. Scrivens' replacement in the AHL is Mark Owuya from the Reading Royals, who has not yet played an AHL game.

The Stars will get a good test from the Marlies on the power play this evening. Toronto features the #3 PK in the league at 87.2%. Overall, Texas is clicking along at 37%, #1 in the league on the PP. Texas's PK is not good, but improving at #25 in the league at 75%. Luckily, Toronto is not good on the PP themselves at 12.5%, good for #25 in the league as well.

With the days off, Coach Pyle surely preached more team defense and there had to be work on that penalty kill. The team is actually allowing fewer shots this year than they did last year (28 vs. 31) but the key is shot quality. If every shot in the game comes from a high scoring area (crease out to the slot mostly), then there will be a lot more goals than if every one is a perimeter shot from the boards. Learning how to work that system, similar to what Dallas is doing, will be key to keeping opposing scoring chances low.

Stars injury/call up report:
Fortunus (day-to-day injury)

Website: torontomarlies.com
Blog (official): Bart's Bytes
Twitter: @TorontoMarlies
Twitter (coach): @dallaseakins

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