Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Grand Rapids Griffins

Texas Stars
7-6-1-0, 15 pts, 0.536
#5 Pacific Division
atGrand Rapids Griffins
9-4-0-0, 18 pts, 0.692
#2 Central Division
November 18th at 6:00 PM
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI

UPDATE: Gemel Smith has been reassigned from Dallas.

It's November, and Texas is already paying their final visit to a conference opponent. This evening's game will be the last visit to Grand Rapids for the Stars this regular season.

Two problems standout for Texas right now, and they are familiar ones.

Minors and penalty kill data for the AHL
(Click to enlarge)
First, Texas is taking too many penalties. The Stars are hanging with rough and tumble San Diego and Ontario in the number of minors they take per game. Averaging 5.7 minors per game, they rank eighth in the league in that regard (GRG is second to last with 3.8). That might not be such a problem is the penalty kill was stout. Texas ranks 27th in the league with a 73.3% PK. Other pugilists like Bridgeport (6.7 minors per game) and Stockton (6.0) can get away with that because they rank 4th and 12th respectively in PK. Of course, the ideal situation is the one Grand Rapids is in: just 3.8 minors per game but a 7th ranked PK (83.3%).

See the sheet to the right for more information on this comparison between minors per game and penalty kill percentage.

The second issue is goaltending. For the season game in a row, Coach Laxdal pulled his starter. His starter in Wednesday's game was different than Saturday's as well. Both Desrosiers and Lagace have been pulled this season, just once for Desrosiers but three times for Lagace.

You can talk about the number of shots (33.57, 5th worst in league) or the quality of those shots, but ultimately the goalie needs to stop whatever pucks come at them. Texas is allowing 3.93 goals per game, third worst in the league.

Something that might help with that shot/defense quality issue is the assignment of defenseman Esa Lindell yesterday.

Stars injury/call up report:
Smith (call up)
Ully (injury)

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