Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Oklahoma City Barons, Game 3

Texas Stars
48-18-3-7, 106 pts
#1 Western Conference
v.Oklahoma City Barons
36-29-2-9, 91 pts
#8 Western Conference
Texas leads 2-0

April 30th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

UPDATE 1: OKC's Arcobello, Texas's Ritchie out. Gaunce, Glennie, Mueller, Jeffrey in. Troock, Vause, Peters, Guptill, and Labrie likely scratches. Nilstorp in net.

UPDATE 2: Nemeth has been assigned but unclear if he will play.

Coming home up 2-0 was obviously the best case scenario for the Texas Stars. They now have three games at home to get just one win over the Oklahoma City Barons and close out their first round series. Coach Desjardins admitted that they would have been pretty happy with a 1-1 outcome in OKC and went further saying they were lucky to get it after being down in both games. The Stars trailed 2-0 in Game 1 and had to tie up two one goal deficits in Game 2 before breaking through in OT in both games. Texas has yet to lead for any actual game time in the series.

Notes for tonight's game:
  • On the OKC side, Mark Arcobello is still questionable. He has been skating and we will know more as the day progresses. Barons morning skate is after Stars' skate. By noon, there will be more informaton on his status. Arcobello is confirmed out. You'd have to think that facing elimination you would take Mark Arcobello at less than 100% because that is probably better than the player you would replace him with.
  • On the Texas side, Brett Ritchie is still questionable for the Stars. With the series lead at 2-0 and a chance to clinch tonight, Ritchie is unlikely to return in my estimation. Why push to get a 90% Ritchie into the lineup when you could just as easily win the game tonight without him and get a 100% player to start Round 2?
  • Further to the above point, Texas will get Scott Glennie back following his one game suspension for boarding. That combined with the solid performance of Brenden Troock on Saturday takes some pressure off the return of Ritchie.
  • Even more pressure is removed by the return of Chris Mueller and Dustin Jeffrey from Dallas. Mueller played in three of the Stars' six playoff games, and Jeffrey did not suit up for any. Both should enter the lineup Wednesday. Texas's mid-season veteran rule issues will not be a barrier here as Colton Sceviour and Francis Wathier are not in the lineup anymore.
  • The only other player likely to return to Texas is Patrik Nemeth. The second-year Swedish blue liner played a lot of meaningful minutes for the Dallas squad down the stretch and in the playoffs. He missed Game 5 with an injury but played in Game 6. In all likelihood, he was playing a little hurt still. Similar to Ritchie, it's probably best to rest him up until Round 2 and then place him in the lineup. That, of course, assumes he will be healthy enough and Dallas will assign him. It is likely he will be assigned since this will be valuable playoffs experience the Dallas organization hopes he can build off of next year with the NHL club. He is waiver exempt now so there is no issue with that.
  • Finally, Cristopher Nilstorp should start in net, given the rotation Desjardins has put in place. He was great in his last start, stopping 26 of 28 shots and getting the OT win in Game 1.

Stars injury/call up report:
Nemeth (call up)
Ritchie (questionable)
Hulak, Klingberg, Gaunce (out, injury)

Gaunce will return.

Website: okcbarons.com
Blog: Tend the Farm
Newspaper: NewsOK's Barons Hockey
Twitter: @OKCBaronsHockey

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