The Texas Stars went 2-0-0-0 over the past week to run their winning streak to three games and their points streak to four.
The Stars did not allow a goal in the two games behind goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp, who stopped all 43 shots he faced.
“Nilstorp has been so good. That’s been a big difference,” Texas coach Willie Desjardins said of his team’s recent run. “And our penalty killing, too. Those two probably are the biggest difference.”
The Stars are now 6-6-0-1 on the season.
Thursday November 15, San Antonio at Texas: Stars 3, Rampage 0
Nilstorp stopped all 21 shots he faced for his first AHL shutout and Matt Fraser scored two goals as the Texas Stars defeated San Antonio, 3-0, at Cedar Park Center.
Thursday’s game marked the first time this season that a Texas goalie had started in consecutive games, and Nilstorp didn’t disappoint.
“It’s feeling better and better,” said Nilstorp, who is playing in his first season in North America after a couple of seasons in the Swedish Elite League. “You get confidence and you get confidence in the group, too. And it’s good to win.”
It was the second straight win for the Stars and snapped a three-game winless streak (0-2-0-1) at home.
“We finally got a win at home, which was nice,” said Desjardins. “They played really well. San Antonio was good tonight. We had to battle for it.”
Fraser gave the Stars the only goal they would need on the night, scoring on the power play early in the second period. He tallied at even strength later in the second and then Scott Glennie scored at even strength late in the second.
The Stars’ penalty kill was 6-6 on the night.
Saturday November 17, Charlotte at Texas: Stars 1, Checkers 0 (SO)
Nilstorp stopped 22 shots for his second straight shutout and stopped eight of nine shots in the shootout as the Stars made it three straight wins with a 1-0 shootout victory over Charlotte at Cedar Park Center Saturday night.
“It was a good feeling out there today. The whole team played unbelievable,” said Nilstorp. “It was a good win.”
Nilstorp, who has won three straight starts and has a 153:09 shutout streak, had some big stops early in the game and then made a great sprawling save late in overtime to keep it a scoreless game.
“He’s been fantastic for us,” said Texas forward Toby Petersen. “It’s great knowing that if we do make a mistake out there that he’ll be out there to bail us out. He’s done a great job the last couple games and it’s been the biggest key for our success right now.”
Petersen scored the winning goal in the ninth round of the shootout. Fraser also scored in the shootout for the Stars.
The Texas penalty kill was strong again Saturday night, going 4-4 against the league’s top ranked power play.
Special teams improvement
The Stars’ penalty kill, which has struggled early in the season, has been rock solid lately. It is 19-20 (95.0 percent) over the last four games.
“It was really to improve. We had really bad numbers,” said Desjardins. “Special teams are always key, and we have been better.”
The power play, which scored just three times in the first nine games, has scored four times over the last four games.
Defenseman Jordie Benn, who has missed the last three games after hitting his head on the boards during a fight, is ready to return to action. He went through a full contact practice on Saturday and has been cleared to play.
Center Cody Eakin left Saturday’s game in the first period and did not return. Eakin apparently was injured when blocking a shot. His status is up in the air.
*Cristopher Nilstorp is 3-0-0 with a 0.65 goals against average and a .971 save percentage over his last three starts.
*After scoring no goals in his first six games, Stars forward Matt Fraser has tallied 5 goals in the last seven games.
*Center Cody Eakin leads Texas in goals (6) and points (10).
*Forwards Tomas Vincour and Francis Wathier are tied for the team lead in assists (6).
*Defenseman Cam Barker leads the team in shots on goal (44).
Wednesday November 21: Oklahoma City at Texas, 7:30 p.m.
Friday November 23: Abbotsford at Texas, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday November 25: Texas at San Antonio, 3:30 p.m.
The Idaho Steelheads went 1-2-0-0 over the past week. After extending their points streak to 11 games with a win over Stockton in Boise on Wednesday, the Steelheads saw the streak come to an end in San Francisco on Friday. The Steelheads are now 9-4-0-2 on the season.
Texas Stars Statistics
*Indicates player under contract to Texas Stars. x-Indicates not currently on roster
Idaho Steelheads Statistics
Stats of Dallas players in Idaho