|Magnus Hellberg stopped all 23 Texas shots for his first AHL playoff shutout. (Credit: Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Admirals)
After last night's relatively high scoring affair, tonight's 2-0 win by the Admirals felt more like what was expected from this series, which is now even at a game a piece. The two teams combined for 44 shots, which was the total number of shots Texas had last night. In all, only one of those got by either tender as the other was a late empty net insurance goal.
Magnus Hellberg showed his shutout form as he had six times in the last three months for the Admirals, whitewashing the Stars for the first time since a 2-0 loss to Chicago on March 1st. In all, Texas was only shutout four times on the season, not including tonight. Three of those four occurred in the first two months of the season.
A tight first period saw the Stars only get two shots on net. Milwaukee kept pressure on with twelve shots on Cristopher Nilstorp, who stopped them all, including some risky plays mid period where he lost his stick.
It would be Milwaukee scoring the games only true goal midway through the second period. Mike Liambas shot the puck on net from the left wing side. Nilstorp had the initial shot but the rebound bounced out to Austin Watson, who cashed in for his first of these playoffs.
The physicality of the series also showed up more during this game. Matt Fraser was rubbed out by captain Mike Moore in the second period and went down the tunnel afterwards. Jamie Oleksiak was lit up by Mike Liambas in the third, a hit which was penalized as charging. Luke Gazdic answered the bell, defending the rookie and earning a 2, 5, and 10 for fighting and instigating. Both players, Oleksiak and Fraser, finished the game.
Texas was given a golden opportunity with the charging call. A five minute major dwindled to nothing as Texas could not find the net on the man advantage, a concerning development as it becomes more and more evident how close these games might be. Not scoring on the power play could be the difference in the series; it was the difference in the game tonight.
Milwaukee only managed three shots in the final frame. One of those was an empty netter as time wound down, however, to make the final score 2-0.
The series now shifts to Texas for the remainder of the games. It is essentially a best of three format from here on out.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
R. Smith, Chiasson, Benn (call up)
Sloan, Wrenn, Jokipakka, Sonne, Cameron, Faksa, Todd, Commodore (scratch)
John Klingberg played his first North American professional game tonight.
Tonight's attendance was 3,311.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Milwaukee - April 27 2013