The Texas Stars won all three of their games last week, pushing their winnings streak to five games. The Stars then secured a playoff berth on an off day when San Antonio defeated Charlotte on Sunday, putting the Stars in the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in their five-year existence.
The only question now for Texas is a matter of playoff seeding. The Stars (41-17-8) have a two point lead over Grand Rapids for first place and the top seed in the Western Conference. They are 13 points ahead of Abbotsford in the West Division. The playoffs are conference based, so it appears now that Texas will be either the one or the two seed.
Here’s the latest on Dallas’ AHL affiliate.
Wednesday, March 19: Texas 4, Iowa 2
Brendan Ranford scored two goals and Brett Ritchie and Kevin Henderson also scored as Texas won, 4-1, at Iowa on Wednesday. Dustin Jeffrey registered two assists. Jack Campbell stopped 12 of 14 shots. The Stars outshot the Wild 36-14, including 15-1 in the first period.
Friday, March 21: Texas 4, Oklahoma City 3 (OT)
Scott Glennie scored two goals, including the game-winner at 2:50 of overtime as the Stars rallied for a 4-3 victory over Oklahoma City at Cedar Park Center Friday night. Jeffrey and Ritchie also scored for Texas, which overcame 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 deficits in the game. Cristopher Nilstorp got the start in goal and stopped 34 of 37 shots.
“They played great, but I don’t think it was one of our better games,” said Glennie. “We battled hard and it was really huge to get those two points. … You have to give our team credit, they battled to the end.”
Saturday, March 22: Texas 5, Oklahoma City 3
Travis Morin and Justin Dowling scored two goals each as the Stars won their fifth straight game, defeating Oklahoma City, 5-3, at Cedar Park Center Saturday night. Patrik Nemeth also scored and Campbell stopped 31 of 34 shots for the Stars, who overcame a 2-0 first period deficit. Dowling’s goal with 6:46 remaining in the third snapped a 3-3 tie and Morin sealed the win with a late empty-net goal.
“It was a tough game,” said Morin. “We continued to play our game and we just knew that if we stuck to our game plan we could get it in the end.”
The week ahead
Tuesday March 25, Hamilton at Texas, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday March 27, Texas at San Antonio, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday March 29, Hamilton at Texas, 7:00 p.m.
*C Travis Morin leads the AHL in scoring with 78 points (31 goals, 47 assists) in 58 games and ranks second in goal scoring behind Colton Sceviour, who still leads the AHL with 32 goals.
*LW Curtis McKenzie leads all AHL rookies in scoring with 57 points (21 goals, 36 assists) in 66 games. McKenzie is tied for 11th among all AHL players.
*G Jack Campbell, who won both is starts last week, is 10-1-0 this season with a 1.35 goals against average and .947 save percentage.
*G Christopher Nilstorp is 7-1-2 over his last 10 starts with a 1.93 goals against average and .939 save percentage.
*The Stars rank second in the AHL in goal scoring at 3.56 per game.
*The Stars rank ninth in goals against at 2.71 per game.
*The Stars rank first in shots per game at 37.0.
*The Stars rank 10th in shots against at 29.6.
*Texas ranks first in the AHL on the power play at 25.7 percent
*Texas ranks fourth on the penalty kill at 85.9 percent.
Here is the lineup Texas rolled out in its last game.
Curtis McKenzie -Travis Morin - Matej Stransky
Mike Hedden - Justin Dowling - Brett Ritchie
Brendan Ranford - Dustin Jeffrey - Scott Glennie
Kevin Henderson -Taylor Peters -Taylor Vause
Jamie Oleksiak – Cameron Gaunce
Patrik Nemeth - Derek Meech
Jyrki Jokipakka – Maxime Fortunus
Scratched: Hubert Labrie, William Wrenn
Injured Toby Petersen
3/24: C Dustin Jeffrey recalled to Dallas (NHL) from Texas (AHL)
3/24: C Chris Mueller assigned to Texas (AHL) from Dallas (NHL)
3/21: C Chris Culligan released from ATO
3/19: G Josh Robinson assigned to Idaho (ECHL) from Texas (AHL)
The Idaho Steelheads, Dallas ECHL affiliate, went 1-1-0 last week. The Steelheads are 33-25-7 and rank fourth in the Mountain Division and fifth in the Western Conference.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.