Gameday Preview: Stars at Syracuse Crunch

Texas Stars
30-18-3-4, 67 pts
#3 West Division
atSyracuse Crunch
23-25-3-3, 52 pts
#6 East Division
February 17th at 6:00 PM
War Memorial at Oncenter, Syracuse, NY

The Stars play the second game of a mid-week back-to-back in Syracuse tonight. Texas is coming off a strong performance in Hamilton against the best team in the West Conference. The Syracuse Crunch's record does not imply they are so menacing, but still Texas lost the one game they played against them already in the shootout at home.

Syracuse has been good in their past ten games, going 7-3-0-0 with losses coming against Portland, Manchester, and Worcester, all teams Texas does not play this year. They most recently played on Valentine's Day, beating the Providence Bruins 7-4. The Texas game tonight opens a three game home swing that will conclude on Saturday for a 1 PM ET game on an outdoor rink against Binghamton. The game, dubbed the Mirabito Outdoor Classic, is the first outdoor game for the AHL, and organizers hope it will break the single game attendance record for an AHL game. Perhaps the Stars can catch the Crunch looking past tonight's game to Saturday's spectacle.

The last time these teams played, the Crunch took the shootout victory due in part to their early jumpstart. Syracuse's Aulin scored his 7th and 8th goals of the year in the first five minutes of the game. If you don't remember, letting in early and easy goals was a problem the Stars had at that point in the season. If we can keep the puck out of the net in even just the first five minutes, it will serve to keep the Stars off their heels.

The Crunch rank 5th in the league in PIMs per game at 21.46. Syracuse bruiser, Jon Mirasty, who is top 5 in majors and PIMs in the league, has not played in a game since February 6th so I would not expect him in tonight's game.

Also of record is the fact that the game isn't necessarily over if the Crunch trail at the end of two, as we had seen with a few of the teams Texas faced in the past week. The Crunch have 3 third period come from behind victories in nine chances on home ice.

I would expect Ford in net, but again, who knows?

Stars injury/call up report:
Wilson (stomach strain), Krahn (lower body), Climie (day-to-day with viral infection)

Twitter: @SyracuseCrunch