Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Toronto Marlies, Game 5

Texas Stars
38-24-8-6, 90 pts, 0.592
#2 Pacific Division
v.Toronto Marlies
54-18-2-2, 112 pts, 0.737
#1 North Division
June 9th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Series tied 2-2

There's only one stat that matter tonight: 19-1.

In the 20 Finals series before this that have been tied at two, the team that wins Game 5 has gone on to win.

To get that third win, Texas needs to do what it did on Thursday: frustrate the Marlies. It was clear from postgame comments and even on-ice body language that Toronto did not expect to be challenged like this in the Finals. "They’re playing their best hockey--that’s pretty clear," said Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe of Texas after Game 4. "They’re a big, fast, heavy hockey team and there’s not much between the two teams. It’s a matter of who’s going to find a way to get one more than the other team."

(Credit: Texas Stars)

When asked what he could take away from the fact that each game has been a one-goal margin but no overtime, Keefe repeated several times that "there's not much between these two teams." If nothing else, Texas has earned the respect of the Marlies squad. They are having to respect all four lines and take "no shifts off."

The way Texas has played since Christmas was shown in full effect in the third period on Thursday. Tight shot counts (only allowing six shots) and a bend don't break defensive effort overall.

"You gotta give a lot of credit to our leadership group in the dressing room," said Laxdal. They know what’s at stake. They know what the third period [entails]. If you lose that third period, you’re down 3-1 in the series and you’ve got a deep whole to cover. I thought our guys managed it well."

One thing to watch for tonight is ice condition. If you're reading this before 2:30 PM today, the ice at H-E-B Center is still under 100s of folding chairs. Graduations for 5 different Leander ISD high schools took place over the last 48 hours and the last one today, Rouse, starts at noon.

Finally, the Stars are expecting a packed house as they announced a sellout yesterday. If you don't already have tickets, check the secondary markets or head to the box office at 10AM for standing room only seats. They'll be limited, but it at least gets you in the arena for the final home game of the season.

Stars injury report:
None reported, but surely some that we'll learn about once the series is over.