Gameday Preview: Stars at Houston Aeros

Texas Stars
31-39-3-2, 67 pts
#15 Western Conference
atHouston Aeros
34-25-5-11, 84 pts
#9 Western Conference
April 15th at 5:05 PM
Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Despite all the success of the early season, the Stars come to Houston today for a game against ninth-place Houston on the last day of the season. To clinch a playoff berth, the first thing Houston must do is win. This is a big game for Texas, in that they can ruin Houston's season with a win today.

Due to tie-breaker rules, in order to control their own destiny they must beat Texas by nine goals or more. If they cannot do that, they need San Antonio to lose in regulation versus OKC or Charlotte and Milwaukee to stay in regulation. San Antonio is still fighting for their playoff spot as well and OKC has been locked in for weeks. Since the game is at San Antonio, OKC is likely to rest veterans.

The league has to be happy with the new playoff format. If you combined the playoff "are they in or are they out" drama of the last two years, it wouldn't add up to the drama in just today's games. There are still eight teams vying for just six playoff spots: two in the East and four in the West.

Texas will probably roll out Tyler Beskorowany in net, since Jack Campbell has already started the last two of the three-in-three. It's possible that Campbell could start, but at this point, why? A start for Campbell against playoff-hungry Houston with 121 minutes already logged on the weekend seems like a poor decision.

In stats watch, Matt Fraser leads the league in goals this season by just one on the final day. Norfolk's Cory Conacher is just behind him at 36. The Admirals do play today, going for their 28th straight win. Personally, if Texas had been in the playoffs, Fraser would have also been a strong choice for Rookie of the Year. Good players on bad teams do not often collect postseason awards, however.

Stars injury/call up report:
Schultz, Tousignant, Glennie (injury)

Blog (official): Pilot to Gunner
Blog (unofficial): The Third Intermission
Twitter: @Houston_Aeros
Twitter: @aero_joe (play-by-play)