CEDAR PARK — For the second straight season, Patrik Nemeth is getting a second chance at the playoffs with the Texas Stars.
In 2014, he joined Texas after the Dallas Stars were ousted in six games by the Anaheim Ducks. He eventually scored the biggest goal in franchise history to clinch the Calder Cup in Game 5 against the St. John’s IceCaps.
This season it’s a chance for Nemeth to extend a season that was almost completely lost after a freak arm laceration in October.
“I lost so many games this season, so it’s good for me to come down and play,” Nemeth said after morning skate Tuesday. “I think it’s a very good team here. And I think we have a good chance to repeat what we did last year. It’s a good opportunity for sure.”
Nemeth will be in the lineup tonight when Texas travels to San Antonio for the first of three games against the Rampage. The game starts at 7 p.m. at the AT&T Center.
“He’s a steady Eddy guy, who plays hard and defends well,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “Very solid student of the game. You watch the way he plays, the way he reads the ice — he’s not just running around out there. There’s a method to the madness of his game … we want to tighten up defensively and he’ll be a big part of that moving forward.”
Nemeth won’t be the only new defensemen in the lineup against San Antonio. Derek Meech will be back in the lineup for the first time since March 28, while Scott Valentine will play for the first time since April 3 — both had been dealing with upper-body injuries.
“We’ve got some upper and lower-body injuries we’re dealing with. So we have a chance to rest some guys tonight,” Laxdal said.
Since Texas used all of its defensemen at morning skate, it’s hard to specify who is officially out. It’ll become more clear during pre-game warmups tonight.
At forward Laxdal said that Derek Hulak will be out tonight and get a rest. Branden Troock will return to the lineup.
Jussi Rynnas will get the start in goal as Texas tries to get both goalies “up and running” before the first-round of the playoffs.