CEDAR PARK — Jussi Rynnas will start Game 1 for the Texas Stars against the Rockford IceHogs.
And “no matter what happens” this evening, Jack Campbell will start Game 2 of the best-of-five first round series on Saturday.
“Both goaltenders deserved a chance down the stretch,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “Both goaltenders have been very good … (Campbell has) given us a chance at the end of the season, and then he’ll go tomorrow night no matter what happens.”
While he’s only be named the Game 1 starter, Rynnas said he’s excited about a chance to start the playoffs completely healthy.
Rynnas won the SM-Liiga title with Karpat in 2014, but due to injuries he played limited games and “wasn’t as good as I was during the regular season.”
“I’m excited,” Rynnas said. “I really enjoy this opportunity to go there fresh and healthy … I don’t want to miss another postseason because of injury. I’m really happy I recouped from injury and I’m back now.”
He is entering the playoffs on a hot streak.
After shaking off some rust against the Hamilton Bulldogs, his first game back from a lower-body injury, Rynnas put together back-to-back wins against San Antonio last week — including a 52-save gem on Friday.
Health was a common word at morning skate Friday. And for the first time in a while, Laxdal has a deep lineup without injury concerns.
Derek Hulak is back after missing three games, while Travis Morin will re-enter the lineup after missing two games.
“This time of the year it’s always really exciting,” Hulak said. “We’ve got a good group of guys in there that are rested up.”
Morin was centering the top line Friday between Curtis McKenzie and Greg Rallo, while Hulak was on the third line with Devin Shore and Scott Glennie.
On defense Mattias Backman will play his second game for Texas. Derek Meech will get the night off after he and his wife welcomed a baby daughter on Thursday.
Tonight’s projected lineup: