|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
The playoff line is set right now at 78 points. The Texas Stars have 54 coming into a week where they will play four games of their remaining twenty in just six days, starting tonight in the makeup against Toronto. The math works out to Texas needing 24 points, 12-8 record to make it into the postseason.
We’ve gotten close enough to the end here that we can take the time to break down the remaining schedule week-by-week. If the Stars make the postseason, it’s going to be by the skin of their teeth. Take a look...
Week of March 2
(TOR, MIL, @SAN, MIL)
4 point week (4 total)
This is a rough stretch. Toronto has stumbled and got hit hard by the trade deadline. It's a fortuitous bit of timing for Texas that the reschedule happened just now. That should be two points. The rest of the week is a tossup. Milwaukee has also “stumbled.” By stumbled, of course, it’s relative to their highest heights. They’re 5-3-1-1 in their last ten coming into the week, a record most teams would kill for. And San Antonio has dominated Texas this year. The Stars would be lucky to get four points out of the week.
Week of March 9
(@COL, @COL, @TUC, @TUC)
3 points week (7 total)
This is an unforgiving week. It looked like Tucson had a stranglehold on first place in the Pacific. Now they’re being challenged by Stockton and Colorado. These are two teams clipping along at better than .600. Adding in that they are on the road, I think Texas wins one of these outright and gets an OTL/SOL in another. The other two are regulation losses.
Week of March 16
(MB, CHI, CHI)
4 points week (11 total)
Back on home ice, the Stars must defeat Manitoba. The Wolves and Stars have split their season series so far, so let’s assume the same thing happens on home ice this weekend.
Week of March 23
(@RFD, @MB, @MB)
5 point week (16 total)
At this point in our projection, Texas has nine games to get 13 points. This will be a big week to collect those. Both games against Manitoba have to be wins, again. The Rockford game is away and the Stars are 2-3-1 against them this season. A point would be a fine outcome there to take it to five on the week.
Week of March 30
(@GR, COL, SAN)
4 point week (20 total)
Six games and eight points to make up. Texas has owned GR this year with a 5-2 record as of this writing. Let’s say they take the two points. Texas will need one of the two in the back half of the week, either San Antonio or Rockford. It’s more likely to be the IceHogs, but the Stars also need to figure out the Rampage because the final week of the season shows us that that is key to their success.
Week of April 6
(RFD, SAN, @SAN)
4 point week (24 total)
Three games and four points to go. I’m going to write off the final game of the season entirely because it’s the last regular season game in San Antonio’s history and it’s in their barn. It could be the final game in the team’s history period depending on their standings spot. That game could yield any result due to the outside factors at play, so Texas can’t rely on it. That means RFD and the season’s home finale against the Rampage are key.
Injuries and callups
Mascherin (season-ending injury)
Note: Justin Dowling was recalled back to Dallas yesterday.