Gameday Preview: Texas Heads to Rockford Looking to Start New Streak

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Despite a loss in Iowa, the Texas Stars still wake up this morning in playoff position. Other clubs are hot on their heels, however, and Rockford is the closest to bumping them off. Texas faces the IceHogs tonight in Illinois, a battle for the final playoff spot as things tighten up en route to the All-Star Break.

Since winning against Texas on December 20th, Rockford has won just three times, collecting only seven points in fourteen games. The club has been snakebitten in the scoring department, putting up two or fewer in all but two of those games and getting shutout twice. Goaltending has been a mixed bag in the stretch as well as Collin Delia, Kevin Lankinen and Matt Tomkins have all taken starts. Lankinen is 0-6-1 in his last seven starts. The power play is 0-for-11 in its last four games. It looked for a second like the team might have gotten some help from the Blackhawks during the NHL All-Star Break, but Dennis Gilbert and Brandon Hagel were both assigned and recalled within a day after playing in the last game against Belleville.

Texas is in the middle of their grueling final stretch before the AHL All-Star Break. They received Joel Kiviranta from the NHL during the Dallas bye week and All-Star Break, which combine nicely this year to form a week and a half long stretch without an NHL game.

This is a game that Texas should win, hands down. The IceHogs are a team on the downslope and Texas was the best team in the division over the last month. Get the two points and get home for two with Chicago before taking some much-needed time off.