STARS WEEKLY (WEEK 31)
Texas Gearing Up to Face Oklahoma City in Conference Semifinals
43-22-5-6, 97 points (18-13-2-5 Home, 25-9-3-1 Road), First Place – South Division
2013 Playoff Record:
3-1 (0.750) – Won Western Conference Quarterfinals (3-1)
Week 30 Recap:
The Texas Stars took their first steps towards their ultimate goal of the winning the 2013 Calder Cup Championship by beating the Milwaukee Admirals in four games in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. With the series tied 1-1 after two games in Wisconsin, the Stars took the series lead with a 2-0 shutout in Game 3 last Wednesday at Cedar Park Center. Goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp stopped all 21 shots he faced to record the franchise’s first ever playoff shutout and goals from Alex Chiasson and Kevin Connauton made the Admirals face elimination heading into Game 4.
Friday night in Game 4 Nilstorp was once again at the top of his game as he out-dueled Magnus Hellberg, his country mate and arguably the hottest goaltender heading into the post-season. Matt Fraser struck first halfway through the first period to give Texas a 1-0 lead and Chiasson scored for the second straight night at 1:29 of the second period and a 2-0 Stars advantage. Milwaukee’s Kevin Henderson ended Nilstorp’s shutout streak at 128:37, which was the longest in Texas franchise history. However, the goal was not enough as Nilstorp finished with 34 saves on 35 shots to help Texas win 2-1 and clinch the first round series. It was the first time Texas had ever clinched a playoff series on home ice.
Week 31 Preview:
With the weekend off, the Stars had to wait until Saturday night to find out their opponent for the Western Conference Semifinals. As the top seed, Texas would face the lowest remaining seed to progress through the first round and after the dust settled, it turned out to be the fifth seeded, and familiar South Division opponent, Oklahoma City Barons. Texas and OKC faced each other 12 times during the 2012-13 season and the Barons are one of just three teams against which the first place Stars had a losing record (4-7-0-1). Before the NHL lockout ended, Texas went 1-5-0-0 against Oklahoma City and were terrorized by Edmonton Oilers young stars Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. After those four left for Edmonton, the Stars went 3-2-0-1 against the Barons in their final six meetings. Colton Sceviour (6-8-14) led Texas in points against Oklahoma during the regular season, while Mark Arcobello (1-11-12) led the Barons in points against the Stars. Negating Eberle, Hall and Schultz, who all had double-digit points against Texas, the next leading scoring for the Barons against the Stars was rookie forward Toni Rajala, who had five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in seven games against Texas.
The Stars will open the best-of-seven series at home with Game 1 scheduled for Thursday, May 9th at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Park Center. Game 2 will also be at home on Saturday, May 11th at 7:30 p.m. before the series moves to Oklahoma City for Games 3 through 5 next week. If necessary, Games 6 and 7 will be played on May 20th and 21st at Cedar Park Center.
D Kevin Connauton (2-2-4) leads the team and is tied for the lead amongst AHL defensemen in playoff points with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and a +1 rating in four games played. RW Alex Chiasson (2-0-2) leads the Stars with two game-winning goals and a +2 rating in his first two career Calder Cup Playoff games. LW Mike Hedden (0-3-3) leads the team in assists and has three assists and a +1 rating in his first four career Calder Cup Playoff games. G Cristopher Nilstorp (3-1, 0.96 GAA, 0.963 Sv.%) currently leads the AHL in post-season goals-against average and save percentage and is tied for the league lead in playoff wins (3) and shutouts (1).
Week 31 Schedule:
(All games are broadcast LIVE over the Internet at www.TexasStarsHockey.com and the free Radio tab of www.ahllive.com and can be viewed via internet pay-per-view video on www.ahllive.com. All times listed in Central Time)
Thursday, May 9 – 7:30 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Oklahoma City Barons (40-25-2-9, 91 pts.)
Third Place, South Division
Fifth Place, Western Conference
Saturday, May 11 – 7:30 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Oklahoma City Barons (40-25-2-9, 91 pts.)
Third Place, South Division
Fifth Place, Western Conference
Team Notes: On March 10th the Oklahoma City Barons found themselves in a three-way tie for 10th place in the Western Conference standings, two points behind the final playoff spot with 19 games remaining. That day the Barons beat San Antonio 3-2 at AT&T Center and sparked a dash to the finish line that saw Oklahoma City go 13-3-3 to close out the regular season, securing 29 of a possible 38 points (0.763) to charge into fifth place. The Barons lost Game 1 of their first round series with Charlotte 4-3 in overtime, but won Game 2 by a 5-2 score. The series shifted to North Carolina and the Checkers won Game 3 in a rout 6-1, putting Oklahoma City on the brink of elimination. The Barons hit back with a blowout of Charlotte 8-1 in Game 4 and left little drama in Game 5 with a one-sided 6-2 victory. Oklahoma City leads the Calder Cup Playoffs in total goals (23) and goals per game average (4.60), while the Stars lead the league in goals-against average (1.25). Four Barons reside in the AHL’s top seven in points, including captain Josh Green, who leads the Calder Cup Playoffs with nine points. Defenseman Ben Eager is tied for the post-season league lead in minor penalties (5) and ranks fourth in penalty minutes (25). So far Oklahoma City has taken 27 minor penalties in five games, while Texas has taken 15 minors in four games. The Stars are 2-0 when scoring first and 1-1 when allowing the first goal; the Barons are 1-1 when scoring first and 2-1 when allowing the first goal. Just like the regular season, Oklahoma City has excelled on the power play in the playoffs going 5-for-25 (20.0%), but has struggled on the penalty kill by allowing five power play goals against on 24 chances (79.2%).
Leading Scorer: Josh Green (C) – 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) and +2 in 5 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Yann Danis (G) – 2.97 GAA, 0.913 save pct., 3-2 Record, 0 SO in 5 GP.
Who’s Hot: C Josh Green (3-6-9) leads the Barons and the AHL in playoff scoring and is currently on a five-game point streak with nine points (3 goals, 6 assists) and a +2 rating during that span. LW Toni Rajala (2-6-8) leads all AHL rookies and is tied for second overall in post-season points and is also on a five-game point streak with eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) and a +6 rating during the streak. LW Teemu Hartikainen (3-5-8) is tied for second in the AHL in playoff points and has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) and a +5 rating in his last two games. C Mark Arcobello (3-4-7) is tied for fifth in the AHL in points, he had a hat trick in Game 2 against Charlotte and has a +5 rating in five playoff games.
Full Second Round Playoff Schedule (Best-of-Seven)
2013 Western Conference Semifinals – (1) Texas vs. (5) Oklahoma City – Series Tied 0-0
(All Times Central)
Game 1 – Thursday, May 9th – 7:30 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City (Cedar Park Center)
Game 2 – Saturday, May 11th – 7:30 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City (Cedar Park Center)
Game 3 – Monday, May 13th – 7:00 p.m. at Oklahoma City (Cox Convention Center)
Game 4 – Wednesday, May 15th – 7:00 p.m. at Oklahoma City (Cox Convention Center)
Game 5 ** – Thursday, May 16th – 7:00 p.m. at Oklahoma City (Cox Convention Center)
Game 6 ** – Monday, May 20th – 7:30 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City (Cedar Park Center)
Game 7 ** – Tuesday, May 21st – 7:30 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City (Cedar Park Center)
** if necessary
Stars Player of the Week: (Week 30)
Cristopher Nilstorp – G – #41 2 GP, 2-0 Record, (0.50 GAA, 0.982 Sv.%), 1 SO
Texas Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp turned in a near-flawless performance last week to help lead the Stars into the second round of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Malmo, Sweden native began the week with a 21-save shutout of Milwaukee in Game 3 last Wednesday, the first post-season shutout in Texas franchise history. Nilstorp followed up his shutout by making 34 saves in a 2-1 win last Friday to clinch the first round series over the Admirals 3-1. For the week he was 2-0 with a miniscule 0.50 goals-against average and an astronomical 0.982 save percentage. Nilstorp currently leads the Calder Cup Playoffs in goals-against average (0.96) and save percentage (0.963) and is tied for the league lead in wins (3) and shutouts (1).
Stars Quick Hits:
· SOUTHERN SWEDISH WALL – Cristopher Nilstorp proved to be a major part of Texas’ Western Conference Quarterfinal victory over the Milwaukee Admirals. In four games the Malmo, Sweden native allowed just four goals (0.96 GAA) and stopped 103-of-107 shots (0.963 Sv.%). Nilstorp’s 21-save shutout on Wednesday was the first by a Stars goalie in the playoffs in club history.
· HOME SWEET HOME – Texas closed out the first round of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs with a 2-1 win over Milwaukee in Game 4 on Friday night at Cedar Park Center. It was the first time in the team’s four-year history that the Stars won a series-clinching game on home ice. The Stars’ three other series-clinching wins, all during the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs, came on the road.
· DISCIPLINE – After combining for 95 penalty minutes and each team averaging around 24 PIMs per game in Games 1 & 2 in Milwaukee, the penalty trend shifted dramatically in Texas. The Stars had only four PIMs in each of Game 3 and 4, while Milwaukee had a total of 12 PIMs. Texas was 1-for-6 on the power play in the two games at Cedar Park Center, while Milwaukee went 0-for-4.
· LOCKING DOWN THE PENALTY KILL – After allowing two power play goals to the Admirals in Game 1, the Stars significantly tightened their penalty kill for the rest of the series. Texas went 9-for-9 on the penalty kill in Games 2, 3 & 4, and for the entire series the team posted an 85.7% success rating against Milwaukee’s accomplished power play (12-for-14).
· SHUTOUT STREAK – Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp had his shutout streak of 128:39 snapped by Milwaukee’s Kevin Henderson at 1:40 of the third period in Game 4. The Texas netminder had not allowed a goal since the 12:04 mark of second period of Game 2. He was 78:48 short of Marcel Paille’s Calder Cup Playoff record (207:27) set with the Springfield Indians during the 1962 playoffs.
Stars Week 30 Transactions
No Recent Transactions
Texas Stars Team Leaders: (Playoffs)
Games Played: 15 Players Tied (4)
Goals: Alex Chiasson, Kevin Connauton & Matt Fraser (2)
Assists: Mike Hedden (3)
Points: Kevin Connauton (4)
Plus/Minus: Alex Chiasson, Maxime Fortunus, & Colton Scevoiur (+2)
Penalty Minutes: Luke Gazdic (19)
Power Play Goals: Kevin Connauton (2)
Short Handed Goals: N/A
Game-Winning Goals: Alex Chiasson (2)
Shots: Colton Sceviour (14)
Shooting Percentage: Alex Chiasson (28.6%)
Saves: Cristopher Nilstorp (103)
Wins: Cristopher Nilstorp (3)
GAA: Cristopher Nilstorp (0.96)
Save Percentage: Cristopher Nilstorp (0.963)
Shutouts: Cristopher Nilstorp (1)
The Texas Stars will open the Western Conference Semifinals with Game 1 on Thursday, May 9th at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Park Center against the Oklahoma City Barons. Tickets for the Stars Western Conference semifinal home dates are on sale now and may be purchased via Ticketmaster or the Cedar Park Center Box Office. Ticket packages for all remaining 2013 Texas Stars home playoff games are on sale now and may be purchased by calling 512-GO-STARS.
2013-14 Season Tickets are now on sale. Put your deposit for 2013-14 season tickets and receive priority for both Texas Stars 2013 Calder Cup playoff tickets and 2013-14 season seat selection. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
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