Gameday Preview: Stars at Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
5-2-0-0, 10 pts
#4 West Division
atChicago Wolves
4-3-1-0, 9 pts
#6 West Division
October 28th at 7:00 PM
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

Some of you may recall the last time Texas visited Rosemont and took on the Chicago Wolves. It was Game 7 of the West Division Finals and Texas and Chicago were tied at five in the overtime period. Then this happened:

That was last year, but boy wasn't it fun to watch again? Both Chicago and Texas are different teams than last year, but that doesn't mean bad memories don't remain for the Wolves.

Texas fans will recognize many of those on the Wolves roster, including leading scorers Darren Haydar (2-5-7), Jason Krog (1-6-7), and Spencer Machacek (2-4-6). You'll notice that those goal scoring numbers are a little low. Chicago has not been lighting the lamp at the same clip as last year, averaging only 2.38 goals for per game. This is almost a full goal per game off from their mark of 3.30 last year. Texas meanwhile is at 2.86 for (#15 in the league) and 2.29 against (#5 in the league).

The power D pair for Chicago in last year's playoffs was the combination of the wily veteran Chris Chelios and the young gun Ivan Vishnevskiy. Neither laces his skates in Rosemont anymore this season. Chelios ended his long career after the end of the AHL season last year and accepted a job with the Detroit Red Wings. Ivan Vishnevskiy was traded to Chicago and now plays in Rockford. The current offensive leader for the Wolves on defense is Jamie Sifers, who Stars fans will recognize from the Aeros last year.

Chicago has a bit of situation in net right now. Ondrej Pavelec is currently on a conditioning assignment with the Wolves after collapsing to the ice and suffering a concussion in an NHL game with the Thrashers. Pavelec got the start last night against the Barons and took the loss, allowing 3 goals. Peter Mannino has been recalled to Atlanta and Drew MacIntyre still remains in Chicago with an 0-2-0 record and a 4.83 GAA. The story of the year so far for Chicago has been the play of rookie Edward Pasquale. Pasquale is 4-1-0 with a 2.13 GAA and .923 SV%. The 4th round draft pick by Atlanta played his junior hockey in the OHL with the Saginaw Spirit.

Meanwhile for Texas, Coach Gulutzan would surely love to get his special teams clicking. Last night's special teams performance (PP: 0/4; PK: 1/3) surely left something to be desired but great goaltending and timely goal-scoring kept Texas in the game. In those tight games, Gulutzan points to special teams as the difference maker. The Wolves are second to last in home penalty killing percentage (68.8%), so Texas is prime to take advantage. Games with teams like Chicago are tight games that will need that extra push.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada, McCulloch, Blindenbacher (injured)
Larsen (call up)

Blog (official): UnMic'd with Jason Shaver
Message Board: Wolves Forum
Twitter: @Chicago_Wolves