Weekend Preview: Texas Needs Three Points Against Top Teams in Central

The Texas Stars have to really roll up their sleeves and summon whatever will they can to come away with three points this weekend as they take on the San Antonio Rampage and Milwaukee Admirals on Friday and Saturday respectively. Anything less could severely damage their already slim playoff hopes.

(credit: Andy Nietpuski/Texas Stars)

It's a sad reality given the near perfect January that this team put together, but it's the truth. Head coach Neil Graham used the word "unacceptable" in several cases during the past week's slate of games to describe his team's effort in certain periods. At some point that message has to sting enough to garner a response for sixty minutes, or it's time to make travel plans in April.

The level of competition isn't kind. If the playoffs started today the Rampage and Admirals would square off against one another in the first round. The Ads aren't going anywhere and have proven to be the AHL's top team this season. San Antonio still has plenty of work to do but carry plenty of confidence into Friday's tilt as they have simply owned Texas this year (7-0-0-1). The Stars' grabbed their lone win in the series in San Antonio on December 27th.

Both the Ads and Rampage sport top ten power play units while the Stars are in the bottom ten in special teams on both sides of the puck. If they are going to come away with any points this weekend the Stars are going to have to get top performances from their goaltending tandem, both of whom figure to play with the frequency of games during this stretch. One interesting question has emerged of late: has Jake Oettinger seized the number one job from the incumbent Landon Bow? Graham indicated last week that performance will determine playing time for every player during this stretch, and Oettinger has just been better.

Injury Report:
Hanley (day to day)
Mascherin (season-ending injury)