Gameday Preview: Stars at Hamilton Bulldogs, Game 6

Texas Stars
46-27-3-4, 99 pts
#2 West Division
atHamilton Bulldogs
52-17-3-8, 115 pts
#1 North Division
Bulldogs lead 3-2

May 24th at 6:30 PM
Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, ON

The Texas Stars stare elimination and the long summer in the face tonight in Ontario as Hamilton has a chance to close out the series and advance to the Calder Cup Finals. Texas will have to have a better performance than Saturday night in order to force Game 7 on Wednesday night in Hamilton.

Texas had a lot of difficulty with not getting shots on goal and causing havoc in front of the net for goaltender Curtis Sanford. Texas cannot get outshot in tonight's game or the outcome will not be pleasant. In all of Hamilton's wins, Texas has been outshot by at least 7. Texas has only led the shot count once, in Game 4 at 32-27. The goals aren't going to be pretty and that needs to be OK. Minimize passing unnecessarily and take the shot. When you send the puck to the net, good things will happen, especially if you plant someone in front.

The Stars have scored 10 goals in the previous five games of the series. Half of them have come off the stick of Jamie Benn. Benn has shown that he can fight through the pressure that the Bulldogs have put on him, as he did in Game 4, but can Coach Gulutzan count on that? Do we see some line shuffling in this last game in an attempt to shake things up a bit? Perhaps trying someone like Travis Morin out as a center for the Benn line might provide some good offense.

It looks like Texas will be without the services of Brent Krahn for the rest of the series, if not the playoffs, at this point. The Stars will need to give aid to Climie in the form of making sure that second chances are eliminated. Rebound control has been a traditional issue for Climie, so Texas needs to make sure they get to those pucks and block out their man.

Stars injury/call up report:
Krahn (concussion, gametime decision)
Wilson (unspecified, day-to-day)

Twitter: @dogsplaybyplay


  1. Watching the Stars play dump and chase Saturday night was blue ribbon frustration. Hamilton had us all figured out: goalie stops dump, pushes puck back into corner, four guys swarm our two and wrest away the puck, then skate into our defensive zone and set up shop. Piece of cake.

    We never changed. All passing lanes clogged with Hamilton guys, with Stars making passes without looking, or not taking care of the puck. Even line changes looked rough.

    Very frustrating.


  2. It really bothers me that so many people seem ready to jump all over Climie and pin this round on his shoulders if we don't advance. No, he's not Krahn, but he's no slacker either.

    In fact, from everything I've read it sounds like Climie could be very similar to Krahn a few years ago, before injuries forced him to slow down and play the game differently in his head. It's my understanding that Krahn used to be as aggressive and hot-headed as we've seen Climie be at times during this season...and it wasn't until he started getting hurt that he started learning to wait for the puck to come to him. There was a quote in this blog just a few days ago from Climie saying he was working on just that. Krahn has also commented that he's had to work hard to be able to shake off bad goals, and we've seen Climie struggle with that this season too.

    I think Climie has the talent...and I think if he can get into the right place in his head and learn some of the lessons Krahn has learned, he'll do just fine. But if we don't advance past this round, blaming the goalie is a cop out...Climie's done his part.

  3. I agree Starry,

    No matter the outcome of the game, you cannot put it on one persons shoulders. After all, they are a TEAM. You dont see the guys pointing fingers after a game, so why should we?

  4. I dearly wish Krahn hadn't gotten hurt, but I agree that if we don't advance it's not Climie's fault. Our guys did an overall poor job clearing out rebounds in front of Climie, but I'd go farther and say that our poor puck handling and plentiful turnovers were as big a problem or bigger.

    'sleep, you are spot on about our dump-and-chase game on Saturday. Especially frustrating since we seemed to lose every single battle along the boards. Stephen, totally agree with you on what the Stars need to do tonight. If Sanford has any weakness at all, it's that, like Climie, he has a problem with rebounds. We need to pound shots in his direction and put our bigger, stronger guys in a position to get more rebound shot attempts.

    I just hope our guys are sharper, more in sync, and play with more energy tonight than they did on Saturday. A lot more fire will go a long, long way -- I hope.

    --Chris M.

  5. No need for personal attacks. The offending comment has been deleted.

  6. Texas needs to figure out how it is that, even on the PK, Hamilton can block shots with such efficacy. It's like they're all suddenly Craig Ludwig in '99 with the slightly widened shin pads. Perimeter shots won't do. There's a reason why Hutch, Jancevski and Fortunus are among the top D scorers in the playoffs, because they've been able to get shots on net that bounce off someone or get deflected, SOMETHING. Game 5 had many problems, this is certainly one of them.

  7. We looked so flat the last game. Benn's two penalties didn't help us. I like practically everyone on the team. I still don't see anything useful in Gazdic though. Drawing all those PIMs are particularly hurtful during playoff time. I'm glad that our "ringer" Jamie Benn is with us. I don't think we would've gone as far as we have if we didn't have him. I'm glad that we aren't playing against P.K. Subban or Plekanec. :-) W


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