Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Iowa Wild

Texas Stars
32-20-4-3, 72 pts, 0.602
#2 Pacific Division
v.Iowa Wild
18-32-3-4, 43 pts, 0.377
#8 Central Division
March 2nd at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Bizarrely, Texas will welcome two teams to the Cedar Park Center for the first time this season in the second to last month of the season. March finds the Iowa Wild and the Manitoba Moose on the calendar in the first week.

The Wild and Stars haven't played since October, Texas' fifth and sixth games of the season. Their first game against Iowa marked their first loss after starting 4-0. Since then, Iowa has, to put it mildly, had a rough go of it. Their nine-game losing streak in November helped contribute to their 32 losses overall and last place in the league. The club had the opposite problem from Texas. They had league average goaltending (2.98 goals against per game) but they just couldn't score worth a lick (2.18 goals for per game). Their leading scorer has 33 points and they have just six players above 20 points. Texas has 15.
Maxime Fortunus (Credit: Reese Strickland)
Yesterday's trade deadline had no effect on the Texas Stars. The Iowa Wild lost a two forwards but gained two new players. Michael Keranen, fifth on the team with 8-15=23, was shipped to Ottawa, and Brett Sutter, 4-10=14, was sent to Los Angeles. In return, the Wild got defenseman Conor Allen, who was combined 2-9=11 with minus-15 in 48 games with Binghamton and Milwaukee this year, and forward Scott Sabourin, who was just in Texas with Ontario and has 3-2=5 in 28 games this year.

All of this being said, this is still a hockey game against an AHL team. Texas should handle this club but they've already lost to them once this year, so it's no guarantee. In their last ten, Iowa is 5-4-1, so something is trending in the right direction.

And of course, you can't get through this preview without noting that this is the first time Maxime Fortunus will play in the Cedar Park Center not wearing a Texas Stars sweater. An original Texas Star, Fortunus was captain for two seasons including the Calder Cup championship year. He is on a rare two-year AHL contract and wears the captain's C for the Wild.

Stars injury/call up report:
Faksa (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Dowling, Morin (injury)

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