Gameday Preview: Stars v. Toronto Marlies, Game 6

Texas Stars
48-18-3-7, 106 pts
#1 Western Conference
v.Toronto Marlies
45-25-2-4, 96 pts
#3 Western Conference
Texas leads 3-2

June 2nd at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

After splitting at home last time, Texas needed at least one in Toronto to come back to Cedar Park Center. They got two and a chance to close out the Marlies tonight in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.

The last time Texas got this far, they made it much more difficult on themselves. They were tied at two each going into Game 5 at home on May 22, 2010. Hamilton cleaned their clock with a 3-0 win and it looked like the Cedar Park faithful had seen the last of their upstart Texas Stars. However, Texas won both games in Hamilton despite the addition of now-Norris Trophy winner PK Subban to the Bulldogs roster for Game 7.

The Stars are certainly in a better position than they were that first year. They have two home games to put away the Marlies, needing just one of the two to advance to the Calder Cup Finals. They are, in fact, exactly where the Bulldogs were: up 3-2 in the series coming home and expecting to win at least one to advance. Texas has personal experience that such a headstart is no guarantee of success.

And speaking of headstarts, the Marlies have been consistently getting them on the Stars, and everyone else, this postseason. Saturday's first period tally by Spencer Abbott marked the 12th straight playoff game where Toronto has earned the first goal. They are 9-3 in the postseason to this point.

Obviously, it would be great to get the first goal. But to this point, it's been about the second goal. Take a look at the gamesheets and you'll see it. If Toronto gets to 2-0, it's a win for the Marlies. If Texas makes it 1-1, the Stars prevail.

Really, for Texas it's all about the second and third periods. They have been outscored 6-1 in first periods in the series but have outscored the opposition 11-6 in the rest of the game, excluding empty net tallies for both teams.

So does it matter if Texas gets scored on first? Well, yes, it is obviously less than ideal. However, Texas makes hay in the second and third periods. Regardless of who scores the first goal, look for who scores the second tonight. That may give you a pretty good indication of who will ultimately win the hockey game.

I wouldn't expect Texas to make any lineup changes at this point. Taylor Peters is proving his worth on the fourth line after scoring the game winner Saturday afternoon in Toronto. Previously injured players look to continue to be out for Texas.

Stars injury/call up report:
Klingberg, Dowling, Campbell, Petersen (injury)

Blog (official): Marlies Blog
Play by play voice: @HockeyCrock
Leafs TV correspondent: @HockeyAbbs
Twitter: @TorontoMarlies