Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Manitoba Moose

Texas Stars
32-29-4-3, 71 pts
#7 Central Division
v.Manitoba Moose
33-27-4-2, 72 pts
#4 Central Division
March 27th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

I think this is the part of the season called "put up or shut up."

While the Stars might find themselves in seventh place by the standings, just a single point separates them from fourth place and the current holders of that playoff spot come to town tonight. The other two, Rockford and Milwaukee, are also in action this evening at the exact same time.

A schedule with more playoff implications couldn't have been constructed if you tried.

The most important thing right now, and this should be obvious, is to get the two points. The next most important thing is to ensure Manitoba gets zero points. Going to OT would be fine if Texas is down late, but giving away points to another club when a single point could decide the entire playoff race is criminal.

(Credit: Texas Stars)

The Stars assigned Colton Point to Idaho yesterday afternoon, but they've still got three goalies on the roster. New collegiate signee addition Jake Oettinger is on the roster and eligible to play tonight. You have to figure that the former BU Terrier was coaxed out of college with the prospect of some playing time this spring.

Manitoba comes in with momentum, winning their last three, including two on the road at Colorado. Ever since closing their pre-Christmas schedule five games below .500, they've been on a tear. It would have been completely understandable if you left them for dead at that point. Since Christmas, they're 22-11-2-2, a pace that would lead the division were they able to maintain it all season.

The Moose have added a pair of ATOs last week, but neither has played a game yet. Manitoba has had Texas's number overall this year, owning a 5-1-1 record in the season series. Forwards Marko Dano and Logan Shaw have been Star killers this year with eight points each against Texas. Michael Mersch and Travis Morin lead the way for Texas with 2-3=5 for both of them.

Stars injury/call up report:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Laberge (upper body)
L'Esperance, Dowling (call up)