Friday, February 15, 2019

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Tucson Roadrunners

Texas Stars
24-20-3-2, 53 pts
#6 Central Division
v.Tucson Roadrunners
24-15-4-2, 54 pts
#4 Pacific Division
February 15th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX
(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Update: Denis Gurianov was sent down to Cedar Park late this morning and figures to draw into the lineup. Joel L'Esperance has been recalled to the NHL as well.

A 2-2-0-0 road trip is much more palatable than the 0-for-5 egg the Texas Stars laid a few weeks back. After a 3-2 win in Rockford on Tuesday to give the Stars their second win in a jaunt through the central, they almost certainly have to be thinking four points in two games against the Tucson Roadrunners at home.

Not only is the clock ticking on the season, the Stars are also looking at another four-game road trip after this weekend home set. With how they've performed on the road this season, not to mention a 3-7-0-0 record in their last ten games, it's not hyperbole to suggest that the stakes headed into Friday are about as high as they can be in a regular mid-season game.

The good news is that the Stars still have Joel L'Esperance, the league leader in goals with 27 tallies. As long as L'Esperance continues to park his imposing frame within ten feet of the crease, he can drink any goaltender's milkshake, even a stalwart like Tucson's Adin Hill (.910 SP). The bad news is that the Stars are slightly shorthanded. Bottom six speedster Colin Markison continues to nurse his lower body injury, and number one goalie Landon Bow is still with Dallas. Phil Desrosiers turned in a nice 28-save effort against Rockford and could start both games against Tucson.

The Roadrunners don't want to hear anything about being shorthanded. In what seems to be an annual tradition, the Coyotes are dealing with several injuries and have called up several AHL players as a result. All Star defenseman Kyle Capobianco, who scored twice in two games against Texas this season, was recently ruled out for the year due to a right leg injury. To give perspective, Tucson only dressed 17 players on Tuesday in a shootout loss to San Jose. The Stars need to seize the opportunity here.

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Stars injury/call up report:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Markison (lower body)
Fedun, Hintz, Gurianov, Bow, L'Esperance (call up)

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