46-27-3-4, 99 pts
#2 West Division
60-17-0-3, 123 pts
#1 East Division
Series tied 2-2
June 11th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
The Texas Stars have been here before. Well, not exactly here, but the feeling is similar. In both of the previous two series, Texas has come into a home-ice Game 5 with a 2-2 series mark. Texas has split their Game 5s though, winning against Chicago and losing to Hamilton. Can Texas win tonight to "get two cracks at it" in Hershey, as Coach Gulutzan said? For the record, the team winning the 5th game of a tied series has gone on to win the Cup 17 of 18 times, according to the Statesman.
There is just not a lot to point to in Texas's Game 4 loss that was deficient. The Stars and Bears both played excellent games, Bears Coach Mark French said it himself: "As a hockey fan..., I think it was a very well-played game by both teams... Great hockey." Texas had a mental mistake with less than 3 minutes left in the game that ended up costing them the 3-1 lead in the series.
Texas has shown they can win a series like this in a best of three, but they simply need to keep pushing like they did in the Chicago and Hamilton series. Against both teams, the Stars performed well with their backs against the wall. Is that what it takes to motivate this Texas club? It is possible that there is a perceived lack of pressure on the road team, as they are not expected to win. "It's usually home-ice advantage, but it's the road this series," Jamie Benn commented. "We've just got to find a way to win at home."
Andrew Hutchinson skated in morning skate but ended up not playing in the game. Gulutzan remarked, "He skated [Wednesday] but didn't feel he was quite ready. It's a day-to-day thing." Texas will hope to get Hutchinson back in Game 5. Hutchinson leads the league in postseason scoring among defenseman and plays in all situations: PP, PK, and even. "[Hutchinson] is an NHL caliber defenseman. Anytime you lose someone like that it's going to hurt a little bit," said Greg Rallo.
No matter what, tonight's game is the last in the Cedar Park Center until September or October. The Stars are expecting to fill up the stadium once again for this last game. The over 7,000 fans likely in attendance will just be hoping for the home "W" one last time.
Stars injury/call up report:
Krahn (concussion, day-to-day)
Hutchinson (lower body/knee, day-to-day)
Twitter (play-by-play): @jwaltonhockey
Blog (unofficial): Hershey Bears Hockey
Blog (unofficial): Stack the Pads
Congratulations to Austin and TexasStarsNation as you get ready to close out the Cedar Park season tonight. Your franchise and its fans have been fantastic in their inaugural season.ReplyDelete
Great hockey, great gameday atmosphere, great hospitality from all accounts.