The Texas Stars have started up their playoff hunt again after a week long break. The Chicago Wolves (Atlanta Thrashers), the top seed in the West Division, played host to your Texas Stars this weekend for games on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Texas managed to steal game one from the Wolves on their home ice in overtime. However, Texas couldn't pull out a 2OT victory on Sunday afternoon and is now tied 1-1 in the series.
With 5 games remaining though, Texas now has the home ice advantage with 3 home games remaining to the Wolves' two. If Texas can win all of their games at home, they can win the series Friday night in Austin. If not, they will have to win another game in Chicago to claim a berth in the next round.
Below the fold, we'll take a look at each game played this week and who is doing well and not so well on the team.
Texas takes Game 1 over Chicago in OT, 4-3
(HDH blog link)
After a week long layoff, the Texas Stars were back in action against the top-seeded Chicago Wolves in Chicago.
Texas opened the scoring in this one and never trailed in the game. The Stars and Wolves alternated goals throughout the night with each scoring once per regulation period. The Stars collected goals from Colton Sceviour, Francis Wathier, and Jamie Benn, and were tied at 3 going at the end of 60 minutes. Garrett Stafford bombed a shot from the high slot on an overtime power play that beat goalie Peter Mannino high to seal the Stars' first overtime playoff win in their first OT playoff game.
Brent Krahn had 32 saves on 35 Chicago shots in the game. His numbers were not quite as shiny as in the Rockford series (1.25 GAA, .961 SV%), but Chicago plays a different game. Krahn is happy to walk out with the "W" no matter the score.
Jamie Benn also collected an assist in the game. Former Stars prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy did not tally a goal or assist in the game and recorded no shots. He was also a minus-2 on the night. Chris Chelios, who is no longer paired with Vishnevskiy, has scoreless but plus-1 on the night.
Chicago claims Game 2 in double OT, 4-3
(HDH blog link)
The Texas Stars dropped Game 2 of their division final series against the Chicago Wolves on Sunday afternoon. Texas trailed for most of the game, as opposed to their other 5 games, in which they had never trailed. Chicago struck first, twice, with goals from Spencer Machacek and Jason Krog. Texas came back with Aaton Gagnon's tally. Chicago potted one more to make it 3-1. Texas came back from the deficit in the last 8:03 of the third period to score two off the sticks of Andrew Hutchinson and Warren Peters.
Overtime was a tense and emotionally draining battle. Texas held on for 32 extra minutes but finally fell to the Wolves' pressure on a cram play in the 2nd overtime. Anthony Stewart had the goal. Brent Krahn had 42 saves on 46 shots in the game.
The Week Ahead
The Stars have a heavy schedule over the next seven days. Chicago comes down to Austin, Texas, starting on Tuesday. Game 3 will be played in Cedar Park on Tuesday. Game 4 comes on Wednesday, and Game 5 is on Friday. Texas can wrap up the series if they can win them all at home. If not, the series goes back to Chicago for Game 6 next Sunday afternoon and a possible Game 7 on Tuesday, May 11th.
Andrew Hutchinson has been on a streak recently. In the first two games in the series, he has had 2 goals and an assist with a plus-2 rating.
The line of Perttu Lindgren-Travis Morin-Mathieu Beaudoin has gone dry in this series, collecting no points and overall going minus-7 in two games so far.