Saturday, March 31, 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
34-24-7-4, 79 pts, 0.572
#4 Pacific Division
atChicago Wolves
38-21-7-2, 85 pts, 0.625
#1 Central Division
March 31st at 7:00 PM
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

Things get no easier for the Stars as they round out their road trip to the Midwest. Chicago is the top team in the Central Division and come into tonight having won five of their last six. It's the last contest between the two teams this season and Texas has a slight edge with 7 points in five matchups to Chicago's 6.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
The Stars have yet to find the win column on their current road trip, only collecting one point in Grand Rapids and none anywhere else. The Stars are on a downward swing but the 5th place San Antonio Rampage are swinging upwards. With wins in their last two and six of their last ten, they've slid into contention with Texas for the last position in the Pacific. With the last two games of the season coming between these teams, depending on how the intervening games go, it could be a very, very tight finish.

Dropping Stockton from the conversation for a moment, it's actually a little easier than normal to compare 4th to 5th because both teams play 76 games and have 69 games played thus far. San Antonio trails Texas by just three points. Each team has five games against other opponents and two games against each other before the end of the season.

What would probably be the most stressful (and most excited, for what it's worth) would be any combination of points putting Texas and San Antonio in a tie going into the last weekend of the season. With two games against each other, whoever collected more points would be the victor and head to the playoffs. If the teams were tied, Texas would likely move on as they hold the tiebreaker of regulation and overtime wins at the moment.

Back to tonight's game, the usual suspects will be in full effect. None of Chicago's top 12 scorers on the year are currently in St. Louis or Vegas, so it's going to be a skillful contest. TJ Tynan, Teemu Pulkkinen and Brandon Pirri are all past 50 points on the season; Pirri achieved as much in just 53 games.

Oscar Dansk and Max Lagace are back to being the goalies in Chicago after all that midyear mayhem in Vegas. They've been splitting starts for the past two weeks with Dansk taking the last two. The former Star Lagace has had some of the best stats of his career this season with 13-5-2 record, 2.66 GAA, 0.910 SV%.

Stars injury/call up report:
Dickinson, McKenna, Heatherington (call up)

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

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