Odd as it may sound, the Texas Stars are looking for the same effort against the Charlotte Checkers that they gave in a 7-3 loss to the San Antonio Rampage on Friday.
“If we bring the same effort we brought last night, and we told the guys after the game last night, we’ll be fine,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “We’ll win a lot of hockey games with that same effort. I thought that was the most complete 60 minutes — yea, we had a couple breakdowns, but that’s the game of hockey — that we played all year.”
While he liked the forwards and defensemen, Laxdal is looking for a better showing from his goalies.
Jussi Rynnas started and allowed three goals on five shots last night. Jack Campell entered in relief and allowed three goals on 13 shots.
Rynnas will get a chance at a do-over and start tonight against the Checkers.
“Like I said on the bench the last night, if I had to pull Jack I’d have to put Elvis (equipment manager Brian Garcia) in,” Laxdal said. “I talked to both goalies after the game. Someone has got to take the bull by the horns here and start winning … tonight Jussi will go and Jack will sit out, then we’ll go from there.”
Texas will have to make an adjustment on the blue line after Cameron Gaunce was recalled by the Dallas Stars on Saturday morning.
Laxdal said it’s a chance to get Jamie Oleksiak more playing time, and the first-round pick is looking for a bounce-back performance after struggling in the loss to San Antonio.
“For a player like Jamie he gets a chance here. Last night he played 18, 19, 20 minutes and we want to get him up above 20,” Laxdal said. “If he’s playing here, and they want to call him up, he’ll be able to go in fresh.”
With Gaunce called up William Wrenn will re-enter the lineup and play with Scott Valentine on the third pairing. Matt Mangene will move onto a pairing with Derek Meech, while Oleksiak will work with Fortunus again.
The forward group will consist of the same personnel as Friday’s game, but after an optional skate it’s hard to project whether Texas will juggle the lines.
Tonight’s projected lineup (with some guess work after a morning skate):