|Cristopher Nilstorp (Credit: Josh Rasmussen/Texas Stars)|
Texas's second round matchup will be decided tonight. No matter what happens, the Stars will play a South Division opponent. If Houston wins, they will play the Aeros and enjoy a 2-2-1-1-1 series format. If not, they will play the winner of the Oklahoma City-Charlotte series. Both games will start tonight at 6 PM Central.
When asked if the South Division connection was an advantage, Coach Desjardins said he hadn't given any thought to the Stars' second round opponent last night after the win.
Stars forward Matt Fraser had a little more to add.
"When you hit playoffs it's a totally different season. You're familiar with the players and what they do. Things can change though. It's nice to be familiar with [the teams] and the hotels. When it comes down to it, you're going in there to win the series."
Fraser makes a good point. Just the familiarity with the surrounding and the routine of a trip to OKC or Houston or even Charlotte might help. Then again, that road goes both ways. OKC, Charlotte and Houston are all quite familiar with the Cedar Park Center.
As to records, Texas is 5-2-1 against Charlotte, 4-7-0-1 against OKC and 6-3-2-1 against the Aeros. Charlotte and Houston seem to be the desired battles based on that alone. OKC has an ability to break open a game in a way that could be deadly in the playoffs. The Checkers learned that last night in an 8-1 Barons romp in Charlotte. To be fair, Charlotte defeated OKC 6-1 earlier in the series, however.
Is Houston the best matchup? Looking at the Wild callups, the Aeros are starting Mike Condon in net because of the injury to Backstrom in Game 1 warmups for the Blackhawks-Wild series. Condon has 7 AHL games to his name but a 4-1 record. Additionally, the Wild took Marco Scandella and Carson McMillan.
If you're thinking that makes them an easy target, think again. The fact they made it out of the first round in this scenario makes them dangerous. Also, don't forget that the Wild are down 0-2 in their series against the Blackhawks. If things go downhill from there, Zucker, Kuemper, Scandella and McMillan could all be joining the Aeros' playoff race on Wednesday morning. That's just in time to play in Game 1 on May 9th in Cedar Park.
So which team do you want to see in round two?