Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Texas Takes First Loss of Postseason in Lopsided Game 3

Tomas Jurco (second from left) had three goals. (Credit: Mark Newman)
If the home team in this series always has this dominant of a performance, the Stars are fine in the long run. That is little solace to Texas this evening after they dropped a one-sided contest to the Grand Rapids Griffins in their first game in Michigan. Starting goaltender Jack Campbell let up four goals in the contest and gave way to Cristopher Nilstorp in the second period. Tomas Jurco added a hat trick, but it didn't feel like all his offense was needed in the 5-2 contest. Ultimately, the game was decided by the man in net for Grand Rapids. Petr Mrazek had his best game of the series, stopping 35 of 37 shots against him.

The Stars had chances in the game. Matej Stransky beat Mrazek in the first but caught the post. Captain Maxime Fortunus did the same in the second. Then Toby Petersen was robbed by Mrazek with a penalty coming against the Griffins, and Scott Glennie had one waved off due to goaltender interference. The Stars faced some adversity in the OKC series but not like this. The largest deficit Texas had to overcome was two goals.

Showing the importance of getting the last chance, the line of Dustin Jeffrey, Chris Mueller and Scott Glennie was victimized by the lineup of Emmerton-Nestrasil-Pulkkinen. They were a combined minus-10 on the night.

Texas came back to life a bit in the third period, but it was too little too late. Mike Hedden scored his fourth of the postseason and Brendan Ranford extended his goal streak with a tally in his fifth straight.

Tomas Jurco got things started in the first period with a pair. On his first, he won a battle behind the net and emerged with the puck for a wrap-around goal to open the scoring. Six minutes later, Jurco received a beauty of a cross-ice pass from Riley Sheahan on the power play to put the Griffs up 2-0. Texas was expecially miffed that the power play happened at all. Cameron Gaunce was high sticked on the play that drew the penalty for Texas and it was not called. Instead, Maxime Fortunus went to the box with his first penalty since February.

Grand Rapids got the start they wanted in the second, scoring on the opening shift just 25 seconds into the frame. Andrej Nestrasil collected his third of the postseason and Pulkkinen got into the action with his third as well. That would end Jack Campbell's night after he stopped just 12 of 16 shots against.

His reliever, Cristopher Nilstorp, gave one more up before the end of the period. Tomas Jurco finished the hat trick on a cram play. In the frame, Grand Rapids scored three goals on just eight shots.

Jack Campbell started the third period, suggesting that Cristopher Nilstorp will get the start Wednesday night as planned. Mike Hedden helped Texas avoid the shutout with his fourth of the playoffs. Breaking on Mrazek, he went blocker side for the first goal of the night by Texas.

Brendan Ranford extended his playoff point streak to a franchise-record six games with a quick play in front of the net a few minutes later to make it 5-2.

Texas gave it a good fight in the third period, scoring the two goals and outshooting the Griffins by a wide margin. That's something positive to take into tomorrow night's Game 4.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Ranford
Hedden-Dowling-Henderson
Jeffrey-Mueller-Glennie
Petersen-Faksa-Stransky

Oleksiak-Gaunce
Meeche-Fortunus
Jokipakka-Nemeth

Campbell

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Labrie, Guptill, Desrosiers, Troock, Peters, Vause, Wrenn, Byström (scratched)
Klingberg, Hulak, Ritchie (injury)

Today's attendance was 4,293.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Grand Rapids - May 13 2014

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