Denis Gurianov Notches Three Points as Stars Fell Admirals 5-1

The Texas Stars knocked off the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday evening 5-1. Russian winger Denis Gurianov had one goal and two helpers and was the best player on the ice for most of the contest.

“He’s playing at a high level right now and using his assets, which is his speed,” said head coach Derek Laxdal of Gurianov’s game. “He has great skill and a great set of hands and sees the ice well. For him it’s all about maturity, and it’s a process for his game. He’s doing a lot of the little things a lot better now, and obviously he’s getting rewarded for it.”
(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Gurianov’s speed was on display for the Wednesday crowd, which included the Dallas brass, in the first period. With just under seven minutes left Gurianov forced a blue line turnover in the defensive zone, turned on the jets, and went five hole on Milwaukee netminder Tom McCollum to open the scoring. “I’m just trying to use my strong suits,” said Gurianov. “When I get the puck I just try and skate hard.”

Laxdal sees a young player rounding into form. “Give him a lot of credit because he’s starting to understand the asset that he has and how dangerous he is as a forward,” he said. “That first goal that he scored was huge for us.”

Aside from Gurianov, there were several standout players for the Stars. Power forward Joel L’Esperance, defenseman Shane Hanna, and playmaking winger Adam Mascherin all had two points each. Landon Bow put together another strong start, finishing with 29 saves on 30 shots. He credits his recent stint with the Dallas Stars in helping him along.

“I just try to carry what I got in my little half game [against the Penguins] there,” he said. “If I can do that up there and bring it back down here, it’s really beneficial.”

The Stars power play once again got the better of the exchange between two top special teams units. Nearly six minutes into the middle frame, red hot Erik Condra centered a puck to set up L'Esperance in the slot for his first goal of the contest. Condra, who ran his points streak to nine games, is now tied for second in league scoring with 27 points.

The fourth line also pitched in on scoring. In the waning minutes of the second period, Colin Markison kept the puck during a 2-on-1 and beat McCollum over his right shoulder pushing the Texas lead to three. L'Esperance’s second goal came only a minute later when Gurianov sprung him for a breakaway. He currently leads all AHL rookies in scoring with 22 points on the season.

“You saw [L’Esperance] tonight playing a hard, heavy game and scoring off a rush on a breakaway,” said Laxdal. “He was some great speed at the end of a shift. It’s great to see his game taking off and him developing.”

The Stars finished off their offensive surge early in the third period. Near the five minute marker, Mascherin went back door on a feed from Dowling and Gurianov. Gurianov has seen the chemistry developing with their line over the last several games. “[Dowling] and [Mascherin] are smart players,” he offered. “We just understand each other. It’s like hockey language.”

Bow's shutout bid was ended eight minutes into the final frame when Garrett Ross stepped out of the penalty box into a breakaway, finishing with his backhand. Small blemish aside, Bow was deserving of the cowboy hat he donned in the locker room. “I thought Bow was outstanding,” said Laxdal. “I thought he was seeing the puck real well tonight, and he made the big saves when counted upon.”

The Stars will lace them up again on Friday night against the Admirals. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Vala, Payne, Point (scratch)

Texas assigned Elgin Pearce to Idaho yesterday.

Tonight’s attendance was 3,705.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Milwaukee - December 5 2018