The Texas Stars went 2-1-0 over the past week and are closing in on a playoff spot. The Stars’ magic number to clinch a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs is two points. With four games remaining, Texas is 38-24-10 and ranks third in the Pacific Division. Here’s the latest on Dallas’ AHL affiliate.
Tuesday, March 29: Texas 5, Bakersfield 1
Maxime Lagace stopped 48 shots, and Matej Stransky scored twice on the power play as the Stars defeated Bakersfield, 5-1, at Cedar Park Center. Cole Ully, Derek Hulak and Greg Rallo also scored goals, and Justin Dowling recorded four assists. Texas won all six games in the season series with Bakersfield.
Friday, April 1: Charlotte 6, Texas 3
Former Texas goaltender John Muse stopped 26 shots as the Charlotte Checkers topped the Stars, 6-3, in North Carolina. The Stars rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie 2-2, but the Checkers scored three straight to take control the game. Curtis McKenzie, Derek Hulak and Matej Stransky scored for Texas. Jack Campbell got the start in goal and stopped 22 of 26 shots.
Saturday, April 2: Texas 4, Charlotte 3 (SO)
Curtis McKenzie tallied one goal and two assists, Matej Stransky tallied the lone goal of the shootout and Jack Campbell made 33 saves and stopped all three shots in the shootout as Texas won 4-3 at Charlotte Saturday. Esa Lindell and Julius Honka also scored for the Stars, who played their final regular-season road game.
Defense prospect Hansson joins Texas
One of Dallas’ top prospects joined the Texas Stars last week. Defenseman Niklas Hansson, a third-round pick in 2013 out of Sweden, signed a three-year entry-level contract with Dallas and then joined Texas on an ATO. He played his first two AHL games over the weekend, registering no points and two shots on goal.
“Great hockey sense, moves the puck well, good on the power play. He’s got good offensive skills,” said Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill. “He’s a little bit like [John Klingberg] when he first came over, he’s got to get stronger. That’s why he is coming over; to understand what it takes. Now, he’s been playing against men in the Swedish Hockey League. It’s going to be a little bit different, but he’s playing against men already. He should fit in pretty good.”
Hansson played 44 games with HV 71 in the SHL this season, registering 22 points (7 goals, 15 assists). He was among the league’s top scoring defensemen until he was slowed by an injury that kept him out eight games. Hansson will likely play in Sweden’s top league again next season.
“This was his first year in the [SHL], we’ll let him go there [next season] and really blossom,” Nill said. “It will be nice for him to get into some national team games and we’ll kind of go from there.”
*Defenseman Julius Honka is riding a five-game points streak (one goal, four assists). Honka has registered 7 points (two goals, five assists) in his past seven games.
*Honka ranks fourth in scoring among AHL defensemen with 43 points (11 goals, 32 assists) in 69 games.
*LW Curtis McKenzie has recorded 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) in his past 29 games.
*Forward Matej Stransky has scored five goals in the past four games. Stransky, who scored 16 goals in 135 games in his first two AHL seasons, has 20 goals in 70 games this season.
*Here’s where Texas ranks in some key statistical categories:
Goals for: 3.61 (2nd)
Goals against: 3.21 (25th)
Shots for: 32.6 (4th)
Shots against: 32.4 (25th)
Power play: 21.1 (2nd)
Penalty kill: 80.3 (22nd)
Here is the Texas lineup from the last game.
Derek Hulak – Travis Morin – Greg Rallo
Curtis McKenzie – Jason Dickinson – Brendan Ranford
Mike McMurtry – Justin Dowling – Matej Stransky
Remi Elie – Gemel Smith – Derek Army
Esa Lindell – Niklas Hansson
Mattias Backman – Julius Honka
Matt Mangene – Jesse Blacker
Note: Goaltender Maxime Lagace was out due to illness
4/4: G Philippe Desrosiers assigned to Idaho (ECHL) from Texas (AHL)
4/2: G Philippe Desrosiers assigned to Texas (AHL) from Idaho (ECHL)
3/31: C Mike McMurtry signed to ATO
Fri, Apr. 8: San Jose at Texas, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, Apr. 9: San Jose at Texas, 7:00 p.m.
Idaho Steelheads update
The Idaho Steelheads, Dallas’ ECHL affiliate went 1-1-1 over the past week. The Steelheads, who have clinched a playoff spot, are 36-23-10 on the season, ranking second in the West Division and fifth in the Western Conference.
Goaltender Philippe Desrosiers went 1-0-1 over the past week and is 10-0-4 in his past 14 decisions. He is 13-6-6 on the season with a 2.41 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
Emil Molin registered one goal and one assist in three games last week, giving him 44 points (22 goals, 22 assists) in 51 games.
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.