35-16-4-6, 80 pts
#1 Western Conference
35-22-2-3, 75 pts
#4 Western Conference
March 17th at 2:00 PM
Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
An afternoon game in Charlotte sees Texas with an opportunity to open up a seven point lead on the Checkers in the division standings. The Checkers however are not the closest team to the Stars in the West anymore. Thanks to a five game winning streak, just snapped by Milwaukee, the Grand Rapids Griffins are at 76 points and leading the Midwest Division. They are in second place with that total and just four back of Texas.
The Checkers believed they played a mistake filled game and that led to their downfall against Texas. The Stars will take it anyway they can as the banged-up North Carolina side is where the Stars were two weeks ago, With so many ECHL bodies at all positions, the Checkers are mired in a three game losing streak. They've started scoring goals with seven in their last three games. Only problem is that the club has allowed fifteen goals over the same span.
Expect Jack Campbell in nets for the Stars while John Muse mans the pipes for Charlotte again. Amazingly, there are no expected lineup changes for the Stars from last game to this one. According to Paul Branecky, Charlotte "will likely have same group of players in consecutive games for first time since Feb. 22-23."
In a brilliant stroke by the AHL scheduler, the Stars will play the Checkers three more times before the end of the season, once more at the end of the week in Texas and two in Charlotte in April. It would, however, be folly to expect that the club Texas sees today will be anything like their playoff team. Injuries will obviously be a factor. Also, Carolina is on the playoff bubble. Depending on if they make it, this club could look very different.
The same can be said for the Stars of course. With no Clear Day roster this year, the rules for assigning players to the AHL after the season is over are still a little unclear. More information about that in the coming weeks.
Stars injury/call up report:
R. Smith, Roussel, Benn, Oleksiak, Vincour (call up)
Nemeth, Gazdic, Nilstorp (injured)
Checkers Social Media: Social Media
Blog (unofficial): Chasing Checkers
Twitter: @mikelappan (PR)