Gameday Preview: Stars at Milwaukee Admirals

Texas Stars
31-19-3-3, 68 pts
#4 West Division
atMilwaukee Admirals
31-14-2-7, 71 pts
#1 West Division
February 20th at 5:00 PM
Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

If the playoffs started today, this would be the first round matchup for the Stars. And what a matchup it would be! Texas is 3-1 in the season series, but only by the slimmest of margins. In the four combined games between the two, the total goal differential is five.

These two teams play a very similar type of game: crash and bang, hard on the forecheck, stout defensive hockey. Every game in this series has felt like a playoff game already, and with Milwaukee in first and Texas rapidly climbing into the top half of the division, this game will be no exception.

The Admirals had a strong game last night against Peoria, winning 3-0 at Carver Arena. Jeremy Smith backstopped the Ads in the game with Chet Pickard riding the pine. Ace starter, Mark Dekanich, has been called up to the Predators as of Friday. Jeremy Smith has a 10-4-1 record this year while backup Pickard is at 1-4-1. After playing 36 games last year, Pickard has fallen out of favor and has spent most of the season in Cincinnati, where he is 8-11-3.

In net for Texas, it's a tough call with Richard Bachman starting all of the games already on the road trip, including the past two nights straight. Would Beskorowany come into this game and start right off? After seeing 44 shots last night, Bachman could deserve a rest. At the same time, I can see him saying that he's ready to go. He has worked to condition himself for the rigors of an 82 NHL schedule. If Coach needs him, he can go.

Stars injury/call up report:
Morin, Larsen, McCulloch, Krahn (lower body)
Gagnon, Sawada, Vincour, Ludwig (callup)

Admirals Web Resources:
Blog (Official): In The Crease
Blog (Unofficial): Admirals Roundtable (@adsroundtable)
Twitter: @mkeadmirals