Monday, May 7, 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Tucson Roadrunners, Game 3

Texas Stars
38-24-8-6, 90 pts, 0.592
#2 Pacific Division
atTucson Roadrunners
42-20-5-1, 90 pts, 0.662
#1 Pacific Division
May 7th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Series tied 1-1

The Pacific division road to the Calder Cup is now routed through central Texas for the moment as the Stars take their tied series against the Tucson Roadrunners back to Cedar Park on Monday evening.


(credit: Tucson Roadrunners)
There are two potential ways to view the Stars' win in Tucson last Friday. One approach is to see it as a gritty, gutsy victory over an extremely talented opponent. The more cynical perspective would suggest that the Stars deserved a lesser fate, having failed to score during two instances of 5-on-3 play while getting another all-world performance from their goaltender. Whether they stole the game or not, the wins all count the same in the playoffs. There is a reason the Roadrunners ran away with the division early in the season.

Speaking of goaltending, Mike McKenna leads all playoff net minders with an exceptional .957 SP. The Stars will need to uncork their offense during this home stretch unless McKenna can maintain this level of play. One major bright spot on that front was Curtis McKenzie his first playoff goal on Friday from his favorite spot. McKenzie said before the postseason that he wanted to get to the net, and he was finally rewarded by doing so.

As they managed to on Friday, the Stars will need to stay away from stick fouls and avoidable penalties. If the Roadrunners are going to gift wrap ample power play opportunities for the Stars on Monday, they simply need to generate more good looks. Brian Flynn, who leads the team in playoff scoring (6 pts) but is curiously a -6, has two power play goals. Look for some of the top forwards to step up on the man advantage. 

Defenseman John Nyberg played a mistake free game in his AHL debut on the blue line during Friday's tilt and figures to stay in the lineup on Monday. The Stars also added potential reinforcements in forward Jason Robertson and goaltender Philippe Desrosiers, recently recalled from the Idaho Steelheads.

Stars injury report:
Fyten (injured)

Roadrunners Web Resources
Website: tucsonroadrunners.com
Twitter: @RoadrunnersAHL
Coverage: @CallahanOnAir (Tucson PBP)

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