Tonight, the Texas Stars and the Toronto Marlies, two teams that haven’t faced each other yet this season, square off in what is hoping to be an excellent Calder Cup Finals.
It’s no surprise that the Marlies are here, but no one expected the Stars to be their opponent. That makes Toronto the favored team, but that’s not discouraging Texas in the slightest:
“Obviously, we’re the underdog in this series,” Texas coach Derek Laxdal told the media earlier this week. “I love our group, the way we play. We’re not fancy, we just get the job done. They’re the 2019 Corvette, but we’re a 1966 Mustang. Give us a little spit and shine and we look pretty good.”
The X-Factor for the Stars that everyone always talks about is Mike McKenna (he has a .940% save percentage and 1.97 GAA), but another possible advantage for Texas is their resilience and ability to come away with wins in overtime:
Extra playing time is familiar territory for Texas, which ranked second during the regular season with 28 of its 76 games going to overtime. In the postseason, nine of their postseason games have gone to extra playing time, and they are 7-2.
“We’ve got a deep group that plays hard,” Laxdal said. “When they are down, they don’t quit. And when they are up, they don’t quit. They always find a way.”
You can read more about the Calder Cup Finals in Mark Stepneski’s preview here.
More From Cedar Park
Sorry if you were expecting some hot-takes on the Dallas Stars everyone, but pretty much everything yesterday was about the AHL. Which, for the record, I’m perfectly okay with.
First up, Sean Shapiro and Scott Wheeler discuss the series and give their predictions:
The AHL Calder Cup final begins Saturday with the Toronto Marlies hosting the Texas Stars.@scottcwheeler with a preview from the Marlies perspective: https://t.co/xlJ1mon6ox@seanshapiro with the Stars side: https://t.co/xGV1DD2v79— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) June 1, 2018
Next, here’s your daily reminder that it’s a good thing to have a strong veteran presence on your farm team:
Finally, Shapiro breaks down some film for prospect Nick Caamano, who just joined the Stars for their final series:
Film Room: Taking a look at Stars prospect Nick Caamano https://t.co/A2wTheekt5— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) June 1, 2018
Around the League
Road warriors? Vegas hopes for boost as Cup Final goes to DC https://t.co/lQ87m2vDCV— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) June 1, 2018
Now that Alex Ovechkin might actually win a cup, DownGoesBrown looks at “ten” big-name players who couldn’t “win the big one.” [Sportsnet]
Apparently everyone wanted to ask Matt Larkin about defense, from UFAs to trade candidates to draft prospects:
Greg Wyshnyski talks about Nate Schmidt’s awkward homecoming to Washington after being selected in the expansion draft plus more in his Weekly Reader. [ESPN]
Finally, with the NHL Draft Combine well underway, here’s a fun little trip in the time machine: