20-11-2-4, 46 pts
#3 Western Conf.
18-15-4-1, 41 pts
#8 Western Conf.
January 6th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
These two teams should know each other pretty well by now because boy do they play each other a lot. The Texas Stars and their in state rivals the Aeros and Rampage will play each other 12 times each in an 80 game season. For the most part, the Stars have owned the Aeros with a 4-1-0-1 record so far on the season. However, their most recent win over the Aeros was their one and only win in the last eight games, a 5-2 victory at Honda Center on the 18th of December.
And that's really the story here. Texas has done well against the Aeros in the team's short history. Can Texas bring back their winning ways with a game against the Aeros? What does Texas need to do this?
- Get a quality start out of our goalie.
Over the past ten games, in which the Stars are 2-6-0-2, Texas has allowed 3 goals per game. For a 'defense first' type team, this is not a good number. We need our starting goaltender to steal a few that should have gone in to give the offense a shot at winning the game. This is what you expect from a starter.
- Play defense.
Again as I mentioned, the Stars have been billed as a defense first team. It seems like the Stars have lost a lot of the shot blocking gritty play from the beginning of the year. Texas needs to give up the body and really commit to their defensive game. Injuries and call-ups have been a factor here. Maxime Fortunus was out for an extended period in Dallas and now Brad Lukowich has been called up to Vancouver. Lukowich has been a healthy scratch for both games in Vancouver against Columbus and Dallas. How useful! Garrett Stafford is also still on the injury list for Texas. Still, no excuses.
The Stars have been doing better recently on improving their shots for per game. Currently though, they still rank 27th out of 29 in shots for per game with 26.92 shots. If you can't keep the puck out of your own net, you have to try to get it in the other team's net. I think that's how it works. The Stars put a heck of a lot more pucks on net in the past few games but still came up short. What's to blame? Maybe it's because they should...
- Put someone in front of the other net.
Let's not be wimps on this one. We wear the big boy pads for a reason. It seems like the only person on this team who wants to stand in front of the net and redirect shots and bug the opposing goalie is Landon Wilson. We need someone else to tap their inner Holmstrom and get in front of the net. Even if you don't touch the puck, it's still something else for the goalie to think about. If you are bombing shots from the point (a Stars staple) and there is no one between the shooter and the goalie, that's a save everytime. As to who does this, someone with a grinding attitude. Perhaps Wathier on the top line, maybe Sawada and Tousignant as well. Please at least try this, Stars. Please!
UPDATE: Chris Kennedy says we should put Peters in front of the net. I agree and can't believe I didn't think of him!
I'm guessing Climie starts in net after Ford started his first game against Manitoba on Saturday. We'll see you out there at 7:30. Come early for a Stars rally towel.