The Texas Stars get back to play in the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs tonight, taking on the Oklahoma City Barons in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Cedar Park Center.
The Stars won their first round series against Milwaukee, 3-1. The Barons defeated Charlotte, 3-2.
Texas and Oklahoma City met 12 times during the regular season with the Barons winning eight of the games. The Barons won five of six against Texas during the NHL lockout when they had Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz in their lineup. After the lockout the two teams split the final six meetings.
Although Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Eberle and Schultz aren’t playing for them in the playoffs, the Barons are still a potent offensive team. They were the top scoring team in the first round of the playoffs, averaging 4.60 goals per game in their series against Charlotte.
Texas was tops in the goals against department in the first round, allowing just 1.25 goals per game in its series against Milwaukee.
Texas assistant coach Doug Lidster sized up the series against Oklahoma City during an interview Wednesday on SiriusXM radio.
“We have the utmost respect for Oklahoma,” Lidster said. “We had a losing record against them. We played them 12 times and we were only able to beat them four times. Certainly they were very explosive with Hall, Eberle, Schultz and Nugent-Hopkins in their lineup earlier on, but they haven’t really lost a whole lot on offense since those guys have left. In many ways, they are a little tighter defensively. We’re in for a tight series.”
*Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp is tops in the Calder Cup Playoffs with a 0.96 goals against average and a .963 save percentage.
*Kevin Connauton leads Texas in scoring and ranks second among AHL defensemen in playoff scoring with four points (two goals, two assists).
*Stars forward Alex Chiasson is tied for the league lead with two game-winning goals in the playoffs.
*Oklahoma City has four of the top eight scorers in the playoffs: Josh Green (3 goals, 6 assists); Teemu Hartikainen (three goals, five assists); Toni Rajala (two goals, six assists); Mark Arcobello (three goals, four assists).
Texas-Oklahoma City schedule
|1||Thursday||May 9||Oklahoma City at Texas||7:30|
|2||Saturday||May 11||Oklahoma City at Texas||7:30|
|3||Monday||May 13||Texas at Oklahoma City||7:00|
|4||Wednesday||May 15||Texas at Oklahoma City||7:00|
|5*||Thursday||May 16||Texas at Oklahoma City||7:00|
|6*||Monday||May 20||Oklahoma City at Texas||7:30|
|7*||Tuesday||May 21||Oklahoma City at Texas||7:30|