24-15-3-2, 53 pts
#6 West Division
|v.||San Antonio Rampage|
27-18-1-0, 55 pts
#5 West Division
January 24th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
Texas plays only its fourth home game of the new year this evening in Cedar Park Center against the very familiar San Antonio Rampage. The Rampage and Stars have faced off six times of a total ten on the year with Texas getting the upper hand at 4-1-0-1.
The Rampage have been feeling the effects of the injury bug both in Phoenix and San Antonio. Callups to Phoenix include some of the Rampage's top scorers, such as Mikkel Boedker and Brett MacLean. Petr Prucha recently decided to go play for the KHL as well.
San Antonio did welcome back two of their much-missed forwards in Friday's game against Milwaukee. Alexandre Picard, out since January 2nd, and Mathieu Beaudoin, out since December 10th, each had a goal and three assists in the game. With the addition of the returning players, San Antonio has totaled 11 goals in their last two games after failing to register more than two in the five preceding games. Those two players are game-changers for San Antonio.
Speaking of game-changers, the Rampage road power play is #1 in the league at 27.9%. Texas is uncharacteristically ranked #27 on home PK at 79%. Power plays will be a key place for San Antonio to take advantage. Despite the assured chippiness of a game between two divisional rivals, the Stars will be smart to avoid "dumb" penalties and let the Rampage make those mistakes.
For the Stars, Richard Bachman is the only active goalie to start against San Antonio. He is 2-1-1 with a 1.96 GAA and .930 SV%. In the opposing net, former Star Matt Climie is the only active tender to play against Texas. Climie is 2-3-0 against his former team with 2.56 GAA and .918 SV%.
Both Aaron Gagnon and Mathieu Tousignant will return to the lineup tonight for Texas. The Texas offense will need to step up against the high-powered Rampage club. Three of the top four scorers against San Antonio in the season series are inactive for the game (Brunnstrom, Wathier, McCulloch).
Stars injury/call up report:
Krahn, McCulloch (lower body)
Wathier (call up)
Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With The Herd
Twitter: @SARampage_Voice (play-by-play for SA)
So who do you suppose gets scratched to make room for Tousi and Gagnon? If they want to roll four lines at least one D and one F are out. The obvious answers are Benn and Neal despite the fact that both have played well. It was great to see Neal play Saturday night, he's got more poise with the puck than I expected, and uses his size well.ReplyDelete
Neal might not come out. He's played well. Perhaps Chupp?ReplyDelete
As for the defensemen, I think you get Blindy, Larsen, Luko, and Max in for sure. That leaves Spang, Benn and Ludwig. I say Benn or Ludwig.