Gameday Preview: Stars v. Iowa Wild

Texas Stars
25-11-2-3, 55 pts
#2 Western Conference
v.Iowa Wild
17-16-3-2, 39 pts
#10 Western Conference
January 22nd at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Since last visiting the Cedar Park Center, the Iowa Wild have resembled a playoff club. After their last visit, the Wild were 8-12-1-0. Things weren't looking so hot for the former Houston Aeros as they had nestled into 14th place in the conference. My preview at the time was not sparkling:
Since November 1st...the Wild have lost nine of their twelve games. That includes a six game losing streak that completely coincided with a six game homestand.
Bright spots were there, like the play of Darcy Kuemper, but something wasn't adding up. Luckily for the Wild, it's come together since the last time these two met. Since then, Iowa is 9-4-2-2, good for a .647 points percentage. (Texas is 11-3-0-1)

If it weren't for the slide at the start of the season, the Wild would be pushing hard on Grand Rapids for the lead in the Midwest Division. Their current fifth place ranking in that division is a misnomer as well. The team has five games in hand over fourth place Rockford, which has a sub-.500 points percentage.

Familiar faces that will not join Iowa on the trip include Darcy Kuemper and Jason Zucker, who are both in Minnesota. The tandem of Johan Gustafsson and John Curry mans the pipes for Iowa. Curry, a former Penguin, is 3-2-1 but has a nice 1.95 GAA and .942 SV%. Rookie Gustafsson is 7-7-1. A familiar face that will be in town is Justin Mercier, who started the year on a training camp invite to Texas. Mercier played three seasons in Lake Erie before coming to Stars' camp. He was signed on an ECHL deal to Idaho after being released from camp and has served as their captain. He signed a PTO with Iowa on January 8th.

Texas looks to get Jyrki Jokipakka back from a brief absence on Saturday. Jack Campbell is close for Texas but not close enough to backup. Expect Nilstorp in net.

The Stars are going for their franchise-record eleventh straight home win and twelfth straight home game with a point.

Stars injury/call up report:
Nemeth, Glennie, Campbell, Ritchie, Vause (injury)

Wild Web Resources:
Blog (Official): I Wild Blog
Twitter: @IAWild
Twitter: @IowaWildFish (former Stars PBP Josh Fisher)