Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
14-10-2-1, 31 pts
#2 Pacific Division
atChicago Wolves
11-10-1-2, 25 pts
#6 Central Division
December 17th at 11:00 AM
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

After starting the season 8-1-1-1 with their only regulation loss coming to the Stars, the Chicago Wolves have dipped in the standings thanks to a 3-9-0-2 run over the last 14 games. During the skid, it seems like the Wolves were catching every team they played at their peak. They caught a hot Milwaukee club three times, streaking Grand Rapids twice, and San Antonio pre-losing streak twice. Their only wins came against Iowa and Manitoba, the two basement dwellers of the division.

Jordan Binnington (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The Wolves have scored 73 goals on the season, but that offense is deceiving. Since the aforementioned split on November 18th, the Wolves have only potted 30 goals, just a hair over 2 per game. They've allowed 37. There have been a number of nights during their skid where the Wolves only score one goal. In several of those instances, they got good enough goaltending to win but didn't cash in on the offensive side to make it stand up. Chicago's record in 1 goal games is 3-4-1-2 overall but 1-4-0-1 since Nov. 18th.

If Texas gets its way, the Wolves might be hitting another team at a peak. After dropping four games and collecting just two points in those contests, the Stars picked up five of six last weekend despite the adversity of losing their top scorer. Brett Ritchie picked up where Shore left off and Julius Honka had quite a weekend with two game-winning goals among five total points. The past three games represent one-third of Honka's season total.

With another three-in-three, both goaltenders will get a chance to start. Last weekend, Jack Campbell got Friday's game and John Muse took Saturday and Sunday. Personally, I would roll the same type of lineup: Campbell against a struggling Wolves team today and Muse against a very hot Grand Rapids club.

Stars injury/call up report:
Troock, Shore, Blacker (injury)
Ranford (questionable)

Website: chicagowolves.com
Twitter: @Chicago_Wolves
Twitter: @theshaves (Wolves PxP)

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