27-12-4-2, 60 pts
#1 Western Conference
20-23-1-1, 42 pts
#14 Western Conference
February 5th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
The Stars wouldn't mind the same end result to tonight's game as they've had in the two prior against Rockford. They would probably like a slightly easier journey to that point though, if they could. In two prior games in Rockford, Texas went down three goals only to come back and win both contests. Just on Friday, the Stars also had to rally to win against Houston, but it was only a one goal deficit at the Toyota Center.
Mental toughness has been a proven asset to this team over the past few months as they now find themselves in first place with a mindset that makes them believe they are never out of a game. With the games in Rockford as evidence, they really never are.
However, the club is facing new and evolving challenges as the roster carousel to Dallas continues. Reilly Smith was immediately called up after the weekend's games. Jamie Oleksiak and Antoine Roussel seem to be staying in Dallas for the time being as well. Roussel even notched his first NHL goal in his first NHL game.
Meanwhile, Cristopher Nilstorp is healthy and could see some game action tonight. After injuring his groin in just his second career start in the NHL, he went on IR for an extended period. Coming off Monday, he was assigned and expected to continue his success in Austin. Jordie Benn, who was also successful in Texas early in the season, was also returned from the NHL yesterday. With big man Oleksiak out of the lineup, Benn adds a good veteran and offensive touch.
It would be a bit of an understatement to say that things aren't going well for the IceHogs. Since Texas last played them, the IceHogs have dropped four games and six straight overall. In their last 13 games, they've lost ten. However, since the Stars 6-3 win and the Griffins 11-6 blowout, each game has only been lost by a single goal.
Fans from the Stars' first season will see a familiar face on the ice as Mathieu Beaudoin is now lacing them up for Rockford. The AHL only contract trade that put Beaudoin in Illinois sent Peter LeBlanc to Hershey. Beaudoin had just 3 goals and 7 assists on the season in Hershey. That pales in comparison to his Texas numbers where he had 19 goals and 25 assists in 72 games. In two games with the IceHogs, he has no points and is minus-2.
Henrik Karlsson has also slid into the lineup for Rockford. The undrafted Swede was traded by the Flames to the Blackhawks for a seventh round pick and then immediately assigned to the AHL. He has one game under his belt at the AHL level this season, a 1-0 loss to the San Antonio Rampage.
Finally, the Stars will be without Mike Hedden tonight as he was suspended for a game after an illegal check on Paul Mara in Friday's game. There was no penalty called on the play.
Stars injury/call up report:
R. Smith, Roussel, Oleksiak (callup)
Morin, Glennie (injury)
Hedden (league suspension)
Blog (unofficial): Rockford IceHogs Fan Blog