Sunday, April 1, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Lake Erie Monsters

Texas Stars
30-35-2-2, 64 pts
#15 Western Conference
v.Lake Erie Monsters
33-28-3-7, 76 pts
#10 Western Conference
April 1st at 5:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

If the Lake Erie Monsters want to make the playoffs, they certainly didn't look like it in last night's loss to Texas. The Monsters dropped a 4-0 decision to Texas on Saturday night and now stay in town to face the Stars again today. Lake Erie now needs to play practically perfect hockey to have a chance at making the postseason.

As to Texas, the Stars are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs if Lake Erie wins or takes an OT or SO loss. Because Rochester and Lake Erie play each other late in the season, someone has to get two points out of that matchup, putting them above Texas's maximum points attainable. However, the Stars season at this point is not about the playoffs.

Texas is looking ahead to next year and is seeing the building blocks already developing in front of their eyes. It has become imminently clear why Jack Campbell was drafted in the first round. Campbell's solid mechanics as a big part of his game. Fans saw this on display big time last night as he had quite a few solid stops down low that he had no right making. The wrap-around in the second period comes to mind, for example. Campbell's side to side movement on the play was textbook and without it that would have been a goal.

It's also clear why Austin Smith and Alex Chiasson are in Dallas's sights. Smith had quite a few tricky and talented plays last night. His pass on the Fraser goal found tape between several LE defenders and also found Fraser wide open. It takes both vision and skill to create such a scoring opportunity. Smith has both.

Finally, Alex Chiasson. We have only seen him in two games so far, but his big body is clearly a huge advantage for him. He's regularly muscling guys off the puck. I think he improved from game one to game two of his career, but still needs time to get acclimated. He's had a lot of ice time in which to do that these two games, so I'm surprised the results aren't there yet.

Stars injury/call up report:
Benn, Vincour (call up)
Schultz, Tousignant (injury)

Website: lakeeriemonsters.com/
Blog (unofficial): Cleveland Plain Dealer
Twitter: @monstershockey

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