Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Grand Rapids Griffins

Texas Stars
1-1-1-1, 4 pts
#5 Central Division
atGrand Rapids Griffins
1-3-0-0, 2 pts
#7 Central Division
October 17th at 6:00 PM
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI

The start of the season has definitely not gone the way the Griffins wanted it to. Four games in, they've got just two points to their name. However, they've also had the misfortune of playing most of those games on the road. Their lone win came at home against Hershey last weekend. Tonight's midweek bout is just their second home game of the season.

With the exception of the Hershey game, the Griffins have had trouble putting pucks in the net. Their six goal outburst against the Bears accounts for 75% of their goals. In their games against Texas and Chicago they were held to one by Landon Bow and Max Lagace, respectively. Ville Husso shut them down completely in San Antonio.

Givani Smith (L) and Gavin Bayreuther (C) battle in front of Landon Bow
(Credit: Texas Stars)
Texas, on the other hand, has had no trouble scoring. They've scored three goals in every game. However, their only win was on opening night when they allowed just a single goal against.

And so, as it so often happens in sports, something's gotta give. These two teams do have some game tape to review between the clubs as Texas beat GRG on opening night in Cedar Park. Joel L'Esperance had the game-winning tally, and Landon Bow got the win.

Filip Zadina, the Griffin's flashy rookie, finally got on the board in that Hershey win with a pair of goals. Otherwise, he's had nothing. That doesn't feel like it can last for long. Watch for him.

Penalties have been an issue for Texas so far this season as they've been shorthanded 21 times in 4 games. That's near the top of the league (tied for 7th). Their PK has been good because they've needed it to, but it's definitely not helping that Reece Scarlett is now out for the season with an ACL injury. The steady hand of an experienced vet defenseman on the backend will be missed, especially in those PK situations.

Texas, which has only had one power play goal this season, could have a breakout chance against a middling GR penalty kill. They've allowed 3 themselves (same as Texas) but on fewer opportunities to rank 21st in the league at 78.6%.

Stars injury/call up report:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)

Website: griffinshockey.com
Twitter: @GriffinsHockey
Blog: Griffins Hockey on MLive.com

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