Weekend Preview: Rampage and IceHogs Await Staggering Stars

Looking to avoid twelve in a row, Texas plays in San Antonio and at home against Rockford this weekend.

(credit: Texas Stars)

Q: Did Texas actually do enough this week to change their fate this weekend?

Stephen Meserve: Things you want a dozen of… cupcakes, donuts, maybe eggs? I’m hungry. The thing you do not want a dozen of is losses in a row. Texas went winless on their road stint but showed life in their final game on the trip, falling by just a goal to a powerful Toronto club. Since then, they’ve released Conner Bleackley and made a trade to add Anthony Louis to the lineup. It wasn’t quite a veteran logjam situation like we suggested last week. However, it did seem to be a ‘depreciated asset’ trade. Louis was good in Rockford and hadn’t found his stride in Charlotte. Now he’ll try again in Texas.

Ryan Pennington: Regardless of whether or not Louis has any kind of impact for the Stars, it was still pretty good business. Getting a roster player for essentially air is typically worth it no matter how you slice it. The Stars are familiar with Louis’s game enough, having played against him a ton in the Central division last season. So they know what they’re getting. I doubt GM Scott White looks at this move as a magic elixir. He’s more likely looking to provide a reasonable jolt to the roster given the resources that he has to play with.

Q: How about this weekend’s opponents? What are the trends?

SM: The shine is off the apple in San Antonio since these two teams last played. After beating Texas twice to open November, the Rampage are 1-4-1-1. Their lone win in the sequence came on the back of the AHL’s #3 leading scorer, Nathan Walker, who had a five point night against Chicago.

RP: Remember when I predicted that the Stars would finish ahead of the Rampage in the standings a couple of weeks ago? It’s actually still in play. Okay, it’s extremely unlikely, but the recent trends with San Antonio suggest they are vulnerable right now. The IceHogs have the worst power play in the AHL at 7.9% and the 29th ranked penalty kill at 75.8%. You’d better believe those numbers have the Stars looking to cycle, cycle, cycle until they can draw penalties.

Q: Prediction time… does Texas come out of this weekend on a 13-game losing streak or do they break it?

SM: I think it’s a coin flip against San Antonio. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an overtime contest there, given where both teams are in terms of play. Home team advantage is significant here. Texas is 1-8 on the road and San Antonio is 4-2 on home ice. I think Texas gets a point at least in San Antonio but loses at home to a surging Rockford club coming in with seven days of rest.

RP: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that they beat the Rampage. After watching their second game against Toronto, I came away feeling confident that they were figuring some things out. They have to win again at some point, and I don’t see it against Rockford. I shudder to think how two more losses would feel in the dressing room, so they have to get it done against San Antonio.

Injuries and callups
Hanley (callup)
Scarlett (lower body)