Friday, November 9, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Toronto Marlies

Texas Stars
3-5-0-0, 6 pts
#15 Western Conference
v.Toronto Marlies
4-4-0-1, 9 pts
#11 Western Conference
November 9th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

After what seemed like an eternity for Cedar Park hockey fans, the Stars return to action for two games in two nights at home after playing just two games over the past two weeks. Tonight's opponent, the Toronto Marlies, always brings the crowds of Austin-based Canadians to the CPC.

After winning their first two games, the Stars are on a mighty slide, losing five of their last six. In fully half of the games this season, Coach Desjardins has made a goalie change at some point in the game. It's difficult to pinpoint at this moment what the problem is. There are a lot of rookies in the lineup, but many teams have succeeded with rookies before. There are clearly some shot quality issues, as many of the goals that have come in were not through traffic and were from distance.

Special teams aren't helping matters. Texas has allowed eleven power play goals this season on 33 attempts. Perhaps it may appear that Texas is being undisciplined and could improve their PK with fewer penalties. While that's always a good goal, Texas has actually been shorthanded the fewest times in the league with that 33 number. This points directly to deficiencies on the kill.

The power play also only has three goals in 37 attempts. That 37 is the second fewest power play tries in the league. In the preseason, Texas generated eight opportunities a game, which would tie them for the regular season lead with the St John's IceCaps. Often, teams that generate lost of power plays are credited with "moving their feet". Texas needs to show that sort of play that they had in the preseason to generate more chances. Then, of course, they need to cash in.

The Stars are in last place in the conference. While the margin is very thin (5 points difference with 8th place) and the Stars have played the fewest games of anyone in the conference, it is troubling. After the debacle of the previous season, fans are becoming worried about the prospects of this season. You don't win Cups in November, but you can certainly lose them there.

As to the Marlies, the defending Western Conference champs are 4-4-0-1 in the young season. Three of those losses came against very good teams in Abbotsford (#3) and Lake Erie (#4). Ben Scrivens is back in net for the Marlies, but it's actually Jussi Rynnas with the best record among the tenders. Mark Owuya is also on the roster as Toronto is carrying three goalies through the early part of the year. All three have played. Rynnas is expected to start tonight.

The Marlies are coming off a 6-4 win at Houston last night. Scrivens started and got the win.

As to the skaters, Keith Aucoin leads the ways with 1-7-8, but a minus-4 rating. Touted Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner is next at 4-2-6. Other highlights include Carter Ashton at 3-1-4, former OKC Baron Dylan Yeo (0-2-2) and often talked about prospect Nazem Kadri (0-3-3). Kadri, however, will be among the scratches along with Joe Colborne.

Stars injury/call up report:
Chiasson (questionable, illness)

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

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