Gameday Preview: Stars v. Oklahoma City Barons

Texas Stars
26-16-3-3, 58 pts
#6 West Division
v.Oklahoma City Barons
27-18-2-5, 61 pts
#5 West Division
February 5th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Coming out of the All-Star break, the West Division has started to gain some modicum of separation between 1st and 7th places. Unfortunately, the Stars are on the wrong side of that separation in 6th place.

For the first time in a while, there are actually four points separating first from sixth. Texas, which failed to pick up a point last night in Houston, stayed at 58, while every other team in the West ahead of them picked at least one point. Texas is still in the playoffs by points percentage at 4th.

The Barons were one of the teams picking up points last night, going to the shootout with the Peoria Rivermen. OKC could be a great tonic for the Stars injury woes. With 5 players in Dallas to relieve the NHL club's injuries, Texas played two defensemen at forward last night and had no non-injury scratches. The Stars have won five of six from the Barons with their only loss coming in a 6-1 shellacking in the first game between the two teams.

Six of the seven top Texas scorers against the Barons are out of the lineup tonight. The Barons have players in the NHL as well, but they have not made an impact against the Stars, given how few games they have played. The top scorers for OKC are Brad Moran, Chris Vandevelde and Shawn Belle.

I expect Richard Bachman would take this start tonight since Krahn took last night's start unexpectedly. I wouldn't pin the loss on Krahn last night; it was a team certainly out of sorts. Taking out all of those players messes with your special teams. Houston scored two PP goals, which is certainly somewhat attributable to the fact that every player in Dallas right now plays on the PK. Almost the entire PK unit was in Dallas last night, and that hurts. Hopefully travel was not too treacherous from Houston last night and Coach Gulutzan got the chance to work on PK and even PP with some of the new bodies.

Stars injury/call up report:
McCulloch (lower body)
Gagnon, Morin, Sawada, Wathier, Sceviour (callup)

Blog (unofficial): NewsOK's Barons Hockey
Blog (unofficial): Oil Field Hockey
Twitter: @OKCBaronsHockey