Thursday, April 19, 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Ontario Reign, Game 1

Texas Stars
38-24-8-6, 90 pts, 0.592
#2 Pacific Division
v.Ontario Reign
36-25-4-3, 79 pts, 0.581
#3 Pacific Division
April 18th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Series tied 0-0

Welcome back to the playoffs. After a year out, the Stars return to the postseason with home ice advantage in the first round.

Ontario is a tough customer in this matchup, and you would expect Texas to adjust their line-up some to compensate. Much was made of the heavy style that Ontario plays at Media Day so it only makes sense that players like Sam Laberge would check in. Otherwise, Texas can't try to change their game too much to match up against the Reign. They'll concentrate on speed and making crisp passes. As Travis Morin said on Tuesday, making those crisp passes and making a man miss with speed with back off the Reign defenders and give them pause before finishing a check and being out of position. The Stars will want to establish this early to avoid too many ice packs postgame.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
The Stars have been a comeback team this season, which gives everyone in the room confidence that they can claw back to even if they need it. This team played the second most OT games in the league this season with 28 total. Knowing they can rally from two down in the third is something that keeps everyone level-headed in the final frame when that happens. Of course, the ideal situation is to not have that happen.

The road has gotten harder for the Stars since Tuesday though. With last night's elimination of the Kings in the NHL playoffs, Ontario gains four players at the top end of their lineup: Michael Amadio, Jonny Brodzinski, Oscar Fantenberg and Paul LaDue. The four combine for an average of 1.05 goals per game in the AHL. The most lethal is Mike Amadio. He's better than a point per game player (35 in 32) and had a 17-game point streak from December to January, the longest in the AHL this year.

Texas is concentrating on that first shift of the first period, not thinking about getting out of round 1. But that doesn't mean it's not in the back of their heads. One unanswered question for that first shift is who will be in net. Mike McKenna and Landon Bow were referred to as "1A and 1B" by Coach Laxdal on Tuesday. Morning skate today should bring clarity.

Read more about Media Day thoughts here.
Read more about Brian Flynn's impact on the roster here.

Stars injury/call up report:
Fyten (questionable)

Website: ontarioreign.com
Twitter: @ontarioreign
Coverage: Reign coverage via Jewels from the Crown

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting. Remember to keep it civil. Using a name will help us identify replies and build a Texas Stars community.