Morning Skate: Texas Stars trying to reverse fortunes in San Antonio

Update: San Antonio play-by-play broadcaster with some more information on the pink ice.

CEDAR PARK — The Texas Stars can jump into eighth place in the Western Conference with a win tonight, but they’ll have to do it in San Antonio’s AT&T Center, which has become a house of horrors this season.

The Stars have gone 0-for-3 in trips down Interstate 35 and the games haven’t been close. The Rampage have won each game by at least three goals and have a 15-5 edge in total goals in the Alamo City.

So what’s gone wrong in San Antonio?

“That’s a good question. I can’t really pinpoint it, hockey is a funny game sometimes,” Greg Rallo, who used to play for San Antonio, said. “You look around and so far this year against (first-place) Oklahoma City we’ve played them pretty hard and pretty well. Then certain things just get you every year. Last couple years San Antonio couldn’t win in this building (the Cedar Park Center) if we tried. So just going into tonight, it’s the same old stuff. We’ve got to play them hard and play our game, we’ve been up in the last two games … we’ve just got to put teams away.”

The AT&T Center’s ice surface — which has a bad reputation around the league — has been a point of emphasis from Stars coach Derek Laxdal after prior games in San Antonio. Tonight that surface will be painted pink for San Antonio’s “Pink in the Rink” promotion for breast Cancer Research, and Laxdal is expecting less-than-ideal conditions.

“We know the ice is going to be worse than ever because it’s pink in the rink,” Laxdal said. “It’s a great cause and a great promotion. But, you know, usually when they make the ice pink — which I’m surprised they do that anymore — usually it deteriorates the quality of the ice.”

Texas will have to tweak it’s lineup after Brett Ritchie was recalled to the Dallas Stars and Branden Troock is out with an undisclosed injury, leaving Laxdal with 10 healthy forwards at his disposal.

Defensemen Matt Mangene and William Wrenn will dress as forwards on a line with Eric Faille, while Brendan Ranford will slide into Ritchie’s spot on the top line. Rallo will join the second line with Justin Dowling and Derek Hulak.

Anders Lindback will get the start in net, the second of his conditioning stint.

Projected lineup:
McKenzie-Morin-Ranford
Hulak-Dowling-Rallo
Stransky-Smith-Glennie
Wrenn-Faille-Mangene

Oleksiak-Meech
Fortunus-Gaunce
Valentine-Rallo

Lindback

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