Gameday Preview: Stars v. Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
16-15-9-0, 41 pts
#10 Western Conference
v.Chicago Wolves
21-15-4-1, 47 pts
#7 Western Conference
January 23rd at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Texas has blown past the halfway point of the season and somehow has yet to play two of the teams in the Western Conference. One of those two, Chicago, comes to town tonight for their only visit to the Cedar Park Center this season. The Milwaukee Admirals are the other team and the Stars won't play them for the first time until March 14th and 15th. The return games for both teams in the Midwest will come in pairs, one in mid-March and the other in early April.

Chicago is always a team that fields a competitive roster. Part of that comes from their independent ownership with some deep pockets. Whenever the team comes up for a new affiliate, it is the belle of the ball in that summer's affiliation race. St. Louis is the current affiliate and they have stocked the team with some pretty prize prospects in the past. Jake Allen, now splitting time in net in St. Louis, manned the net in Chi-town last season. This year, Matt Climie (on an AHL deal) splits time with rookie Jordan Binnington. Binnington is 12-6-2 with 2.31 GAA and .913 SV%. Climie has been a bit unluckier at 9-9-3 despite a near identical 2.37 GAA and .911 SV%.

St. Louis property Ty Rattie is near the top of the list. The second-year forward got a few games in St. Louis last year but has played all 41 this season with the Wolves, earning 27 points.

If Texas wants to make the playoffs, they will need to pick up the pace. At the current run-rate, the Stars need 41 points in their remaining 36 games just to tie up eighth place. That's approximately a 20-15-1 record with minimal OTLs. If the Stars' current OTL record holds, that would look more like 16-11-9 for a total of 32-26-18. Chicago is a team that is also looking for one of those last few spots. Tonight and tomorrow's games are what you call 'four point games', where the Stars can inflict maximum damage by winning outright in regulation to not only add to their total but steal potential points from Chicago. If they can win both outright, Texas will head to the break with 45 points, just two behind Chicago and with a better points percentage to boot.

Time to make that push.

Stars injury/call up report:
Ritchie (call up)
Henderson, Troock, Faksa (injury)

Twitter: @Chicago_Wolves
Twitter: @theshaves (Wolves PxP)