Gameday Preview: Stars at Rockford IceHogs, Game 4

Texas Stars
46-27-3-4, 99 pts
#2 West Division
atRockford IceHogs
44-30-3-3, 94 pts
#3 West Division
Stars lead 3-0

April 23rd at 7:05 PM
MetroCentre, Rockford, IL

Could the Stars break out the brooms tonight and win their first ever playoff series in a sweep? It's possible. After an offensive thumping of six goals spearheaded by Jamie Benn (2-2-4), Rockford precariously on the edge of the end of their season. It's worth noting that every team with a 3-0 series lead in the NHL since the lockout has won the series.

Last gameday preview, I mentioned that through two games IceHogs goalie Corey Crawford was doing well (5 goals against). Wednesday's game did not go as well; Crawford was pulled after allowing 5 goals on 21 shots in two periods. Backup Hannu Toivonen started the third in relief and allowed one goal on the first of five shots in the period. Crawford still gets the start.

Brent Krahn has been a brick wall in net for Texas so far in the series. With a 1.00 GAA and a .966 SV%, he leads the AHL in both categories for the playoffs. It would have been nice to get him the shutout last game, but the truth of the matter is that the W is more important than the blank sheet. Krahn has said as much.

For Texas, Jamie Benn and Travis Morin top the rookie points charts with 5 each. Benn has 3 goals and 2 assists while Morin's points have all been helpers. Overall, all but 4 skaters have points in the series (Korostin, Tr. Ludwig, McCulloch, and Stephenson).

For Rockford, Rob Klinkhammer leads, a word I use loosely, with a goal and an assist in the series. The compete level of the Rockford offense was anemic at best on Wednesday night. They squandered a 5-on-3 early and never really recovered to mount any meaningful challenge. After the fighting and scrumming after the whistle in the first two games, Rockford seemed to think they were playing in a beer league game that didn't allow contact on Wednesday. The intensity just wasn't there, and it showed on the scoreboard.

So, could it be the first 'handshake night' in Texas Stars history? I think there's a pretty good chance, but then again, there's a reason why they play the games.

Stars injury/call up report:

Blog (unofficial): Rockford IceHogs Fan Blog
Twitter: @goicehogs