Tuesday, April 8, 2014

If Playoffs Started Today, Texas Would Face Tough Barons Team in First Round

Former Texas Star Francis Wathier and OKC Barons coach Todd Nelson shake hands after
the Barons eliminated the Stars from the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs. (Credit: Steven Christy)
The Texas Stars are cruising along, having won their ninth straight Sunday and gunning for the top spot in the league. However, an unpleasant first round matchup could be looming on the horizon for the West Division champs: the Oklahoma City Barons. OKC is eighth by points percentage in the West.

Last year, of course, the Barons defeated Texas in the second round of the playoffs, ending a season that was primed to rival the inaugural campaign. After Texas bowed out, it was revealed that five of the top six were battling injuries. Even without that note, the series was as much a Barons' victory as it was a Stars' defeat.

Texas has one more game left against OKC. So far this season the Stars are 7-3-1-0 against them. Those four losses have included losses of 5-2, 7-4 and 2-0. Over the last five seasons, it's been the best rivalry that Texas has going. The Stars actually have a losing record against the Barons in the regular season over that time at 19-21-1-2. The Barons are a tidy 24-14-2-3. Home ice advantage may or may not be an advantage with this club. Texas is 10-10-0-2 at home against the Barons in the regular season.

The toughest part about the fact that OKC as the first round opponent is that it would be a five-game series. The first two games would be in OKC where they are 12-6-1-2 all-time against Texas. If Texas gets in a hole down 0-2 in the first round, there will be no wiggle room. It could end up being the most disappointing season the Stars have had yet.

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