Saturday, May 31, 2014

Gameday Preview: Stars at Toronto Marlies, Game 5

Texas Stars
48-18-3-7, 106 pts
#1 Western Conference
atToronto Marlies
45-25-2-4, 96 pts
#3 Western Conference
Series tied 2-2

May 31st at 2:00 PM
Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, ON

Hope you're not faint of heart because it's time for a pivotal Game 5 for the Texas Stars. It will be their last game in Toronto before heading back to Cedar Park for a guaranteed Game 6 on Monday night. The winner of tonight's game will have a chance to clinch Monday. Statistically, the winner of Game 5 in an AHL best of seven series tied at two has gone on to win more than 80$ of the time. It's incredibly important that the Stars come home with two chances to close instead of facing elimination.

Today's game is a matinee with puck drop at 2 PM Central time. The Stars have had mixed results in matinee games this season. They were 4-5-1-1 in 11 games before going on a run over final portion of the season. From February 25 on, the Stars were 4-0-0-1 in matinee contests, putting their final tally at 8-5-0-2. Team can swear up and down that early games don't affect them but often it does. Texas clearly learned how to manage it better as the season went on.

The power play was deadly for the Marlies in Game 4. There were certainly some questionable calls in the game, including the roughing call on Mike Hedden that led to the 5-on-3 goal. Texas needs to fight through those calls. Bad teams complain about officiating. Good teams win anyways.

Toronto has had aa lot of contributions from their league-recognized players, TJ Brennan and Spencer Abbott. The Stars have gotten important goals from their league MVP, Travis Morin, as well. Texas could use a big game from Rookie of the Year Curtis McKenzie. The Golden, BC native has just one assist in the series, a secondary on the Stars' lone goal in Game 1. In the regular season, he had 27 goals and 38 assists in 75 games. It is possible that the physicality of the series is taking McKenzie out of the action?

Stars injury/call up report:
Klingberg, Dowling, Campbell, Petersen (injury)

Website: torontomarlies.com
Blog (official): Marlies Blog
Play by play voice: @HockeyCrock
Leafs TV correspondent: @HockeyAbbs
Twitter: @TorontoMarlies

2 comments:

  1. I think maybe McKenzie is running on fumes. He's played 88 games of hockey this season, pretty much double the amount he's ever played in a season in either Junior A or in college. The one-and-done format in the NCAA doesn't really prepare those guys for the rigors of a long playoff run, as opposed to the format in Major Junior.

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    1. That's a great point, Ross. The inaugural year Texas had a similar issue with Jamie Benn. By the end of the run, he had played over 100 games, at least 30 more than he'd ever played in his career in one season. Same might apply here.

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