Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Bakersfield Condors

Texas Stars
19-14-3-1, 42 pts, 0.568
#5 Pacific Division
atBakersfield Condors
14-13-6-0, 34 pts, 0.515
#8 Pacific Division
January 10th at 8:30 PM
Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, CA

The Stars get a chance at the rubber match with the Condors tonight. After winning in OT on Friday and laying an egg on Saturday, this contest is a good one to kick off the road trip right and get Texas's mojo back. The Stars have lost seven of their last ten games, earning just under half as many points as were available thanks largely to OT losses.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
While it's not an excuse, you have to comment on the overall strength of the division. The last place team in an 8-team division has a record above 0.500. Texas, which is in 5th place in the Pacific, is currently clipping along at a rate that would have put them in the playoffs in all but one of the four divisions last season.

Things have to improve for Texas in a lot of places to break the pattern. The Stars need to take fewer penalties, especially poorly timed ones. When they do take penalties, they need to kill them off. They have the second worst PK in the league right now, saved by being just 0.2% ahead of the Belleville Senators. The power play must improve as well. The good news there is twofold. First, Brian Flynn is expected to return to the lineup tonight. He's only missed five games, but the Stars have won just one of those games without him. His power play "calming presence," as Laxdal calls it, will surely improve their success rate. Secondly, Texas is better on the road right now than at home with the man-advantage. Part of this might be the fact that Texas was buzzing on the power play last time they went on a road trip and had misses at home, but the Stars will take positives where they can get them.

Stars injury/call up report:
Flynn (injury, probable)

Condors Web Resources:
Blog (Official): Inside the Condors
Twitter: @Condors
Twitter: @CondorsHolty (PBP)