Friday, January 13, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars at Grand Rapids Griffins

Texas Stars
16-16-1-2, 35 pts
#13 Western Conference
atGrand Rapids Griffins
15-13-4-3, 37 pts
#11 Western Conference
January 13th at 6:00 PM
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids MI

The Stars begin a four game road swing against the North and Midwest division with tonight's game against the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Detroit farm club has not faced off against the Stars since March 26th of last year and will face Texas four times this year, heavily backloaded in the schedule to March and April.

The Griffins come into tonight's game after losing to the Aeros in a shootout on Thursday. Grand Rapids is on a seven game point streak, going 3-0-3-1 over that time. Texas is on a four game point streak of its own at 2-0-1-1.

Forward and AHL All-Star Gustav Nyquist leads the Griffins on offense and ranks 17th in the league with 9-23-32. For comparison, Travis Morin is tied with him with 32 points via four goals and 28 assists. Tomas Tatar (10-19-29) and Jamie Johnson (14-13-27) follow Nyquist on offense. Former Stars Chris Conner (8-17-25 in 21 games) and Fabian Brunnstrom (2-5-7 in 12 games) also dot the roster.

The Griffins are currently nursing an injury in net. Jordan Pearce sprained his ankle in a 3-2 OT loss to the Peoria Rivermen on December 30th. Joey MacDonald is the starter regardless, going 8-8-2 with a 2.78 GAA and .906 SV%. Tom McCollum was called up from Toledo and has garnered a 6-3-0 record on the season with 2.78 GAA and .909 SV%.

The Griffins ranks 22nd on the power play at 16.2% and 16th on the PK at 82.5%. Grand Rapids is 10th in the league in penalty minutes with 17.71 per game. Garnet Exelby leads the club and is third in the league with 119 PIMs.

On Texas's side of things, the Texas Stars Report had previously discussed what the Stars need to catchup with the pack. After the Stars' win on Wednesday, not much has changed. In the remaining 41 games, Texas needs to go 24-17 (or some combination that gets them 48 points such as 22-15-2-2) to catch up with the pace that the eighth place Rochester Americans are setting. A good swing through the other two divisions would be a good start. Really anything to get Texas away from the West Division would help right now. It starts tonight with the Griffins.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada (upper body)
Tousignant (upper body)
Larsen, Vincour (callup)

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

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