Gameday Preview: Stars v. Syracuse Crunch

Texas Stars
20-10-2-2, 44 pts
#3 Western Conf.
v.Syracuse Crunch
10-18-3-2, 25 pts
#15 Eastern Conf.
December 29th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Tonight's game will be the first ever meeting between these two teams. The Crunch, from the East Division of the Eastern Conference, have the worst record in the AHL with 25 points and 10-18-3-2 record. The Crunch are on a Texas swing and played Houston last night, losing 5-4 in OT. They will play San Antonio tomorrow night.

The Crunch, AHL affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets, have lost 6 straight dating back to December 12th. They have allowed the most goals in the AHL at 130 (3.94 per game) and have had offensive struggles as well, scoring only 80 goals (2.42 per game) this season, second fewest in the league and fourth fewest per game.

The Crunch are also the most penalized team in the league at 26.97 PIMs per game. Look for LW Jon Mirasty (#41) to square off with someone tonight, possibly more than once; he leads the AHL in major penalties (16) and comes in 2nd in PIMs with 150. The Stars power play, currently 18th at 15.5% at home, should get some great opportunities tonight with the Crunch's penchant for PIMs and their PK ranked 25th at 78.1%.

In Stars news, captain, LW Landon Wilson, will return to the lineup, as I reported last night. There will also be a new face in the locker room, with the arrival of Todd Ford from the Stingrays. I do not know whether coach Gulutzan plans to start Climie or Ford tonight.