Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Stockton Heat

   Texas Stars                            Stockton Heat
  35-24-7-4, 81 pts, .579     v.     31-25-2-4, 68 pts, .548
#4 Pacific Division                    #5 Pacific Division

April 4th at 7:30 PM CST
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Texas closes out its season series with the Heat this evening in a 'four point game' that has big playoff implications. With Stockton in fifth place and Texas's magic number down to 9 as of this morning, the Stars could drop that down to 5 with a regulation win this evening.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
The Heat, of course, are battling for their playoffs lives so this game is very key to them. It's the only chance they have remaining to directly play against the team they are chasing. As we discussed yesterday, they'll get last-place San Jose three times in the final five games. If they can't win tonight, the last week of their season may be of no consequence.

Texas gets some assistance in the forward ranks with Jason Dickinson rejoining the club this week. Mike McKenna had a solid performance last night in relief in San Jose, stopping all 17 he faced for the 4-2 Dallas win. The status of Kari Lehtonen appears to be good, so there won't be another recall for Landon Bow. However, McKenna could start one of Dallas's last two games. Coach Hitchcock said he's "earned it."

Stockton has the upper hand in the season series so far this year, 3-2. Last year, the Heat were dominant at 5-0-0-1. Texas will look to put one more nail in the coffin of the Heat this evening.

Stars injury/call up report:
Heatherington, McKenna, Elie

Heat Web Resources
Twitter: @AHLHeat