Texas Stars Report: Finally Gaining Ground

Sceviour

For the Texas Stars (32-19-3-3, 70 pts, #3 West), this week was two separate stories.  Through their first two games in Cleveland, Texas struggled on offense, had horrific special teams and suspect goaltending.  In a weekend 3 in 3, Texas swept three divisional opponents including the leader of the Western Conference, the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators).

The Stars surged from sixth place to start the week to third place to finish it.  Add to this the increasing health of Dallas forwards, which will hopefully mean players will start being sent down, and the increasing health of Texas players, such as Scott McCulloch, Travis Morin and Philip Larsen, and Texas might just have a perfect storm on their hands to start reaching for home ice advantage in the playoffs.

A look at all the games of the week after the jump.

Stars Start Road Trip with an L, 3-2
(HDH blog link)

Cleveland Not Kind As Stars Fall 4-2
(HDH blog link)

Really, the two games against the Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado Avalanche) should be considered together.  A lot of the same thing plagued the team in both games.  A headliner item among them being the special teams play.  The power play went 0/8 in the two games, including a 5 minute major PP, and the PK allowed two goal on just 7 opportunities.  

Goals in the two games came from unfamiliar sources for Dallas fans: Dan Spang, Dave Bonk (2), and Michael Neal.  A lot of the names you would recognize are in Dallas or injured. Forward Greg Rallo remarked on Thursday, "We can't use [injuries and callups] as an excuse though."

Stars Get Weekend Off Right With 3-2 Win
(HDH blog link)

With the ugliness of the week behind them, Texas settled into a 3-in-3 weekend series, starting Friday in Grand Rapids.  The Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) are a North Division opponent, so it didn't matter as much if the Stars gave away a point in regulation this evening, just that they got the extra point.  Texas took the game to overtime after being down 2-0 early with goals from Dan Spang and Brandon Segal.

Richard Bachman stopped all five Griffins shooters in the shootout while Francis Wathier scored the only goal for Texas.  Bachman stopped 35 of 37 shots on the night plus 5 more in the shootout.  The Stars scored on the power play in the game and did not allow a PPG themselves.

Stars Manhandle Chicago Again 3-2
(HDH blog link)

Every year, some team has your number.  This year for Chicago, that's Texas.  After tonight's win, the Wolves (Atlanta Thrashers) are now 0-5 on the year against Texas.  For the Stars, the game got them back to .500 on the road trip and moved them from 5th to 4th place in the West Division.

Richard Bachman again had a heck of night, stopping 42 of 44 shots against him.  He received second star honors for the second straight night.  Special teams were a great story again tonight.  Texas scored on the power play, and Colton Sceviour had a shorthanded goal as well.

Texas Surges to 3rd Place with 2-1 Win Over Ads
(HDH blog link)

The weekend sweep was completed on Sunday with a big win over the conference leading Milwaukee Admirals.  Tyler Beskorowany came off the bench to earn #1 star honors, stopping 34 of 35 shots against in the game.

Texas got timely scoring from Mathieu Tousignant and Sean Backman in the game, with both being assisted by Brandon Segal, who played for the Admirals for four years.  The win moved Texas into sole possession of third place in the West Division.

The Week Ahead

The road trip continues with two days off before the next game.  Texas will visit the Peoria Rivermen (St Louis Blues) on Wednesday.  Then, the Stars will return to Texas for games against the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild) on Friday and San Antonio Rampage (Phoenix Coyotes) on Saturday.  Finally, Texas will return home on Sunday for their first home game in over two weeks.  Their opponent will be the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers).

Who's Hot

Goaltending is winning games, which is what you need it to do.  Richard Bachman stopped 77 of 81 shots on the weekend, and Tyler Beskorowany chipped in 34 saves on 35 shots on Sunday.  Brandon Segal has also lit up the scoreboard with a goal and two assists in this week's games.

Injuries

Travis Morin and Philip Larsen continue to be out with lower body injuries.  They are looking to be healthy as we move forward this week.  Brent Krahn is day-to-day right now, and Tyler Beskorowany is up from Idaho to spell him. Scott McCulloch is on the road trip with the Stars after being out with a lower body injury for some time.  He may get in a game before the week is out.

You can always follow the Texas Stars by reading my blog at HundredDegreeHockey.com, following me on Twitter @100degreehockey, or becoming a fan on Facebook.

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