CEDAR PARK — It’s only the second game of the postseason, but the Texas Stars are already facing a must-win scenario after dropping Game 1 against the Rockford IceHogs on Friday.
“This is a huge one tonight. We pretty much have to win this one,” Brett Ritchie said Saturday morning. “I think we’re looking at this one as a do-or-die, and we’ll give it our best shot.”
Texas would have an enormous hill to climb with a loss. The Stars would be down 2-0 in the best-of-five series, and would have to win three straight games in Rockford’s BMO Harris Arena — a building Texas hasn’t won in since Jan. 21, 2013 — to extend their season.
Texas will need better discipline and quality scoring chances to avoid that precarious situation.
“Discipline was the biggest factor,” Scott Glennie said. “We’ve got to put that behind us.”
Rockford took advantage of six power plays in Game 1 and Spencer Abbott cashed in twice.
Texas also fired 35 shots at Michael Leighton, but didn’t create enough traffic in front of the Rockford goaltender.
“We didn’t have enough net-front presence on Leighton,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “The scouting report on him is he doesn’t like traffic in front of the net. And I thought we did a good job of not getting enough traffic.”
Laxdal is also looking for a better start from his team. In Game 1 it took Texas almost 10 minutes to get into the game, and Rockford could have been up 2-0 early if not for a quick whistle that negated a goal.
“We had a video session and we addressed the start from last night,” Laxdal said. “I thought we looked a little nervous … we’ve got to come out with a little more sense of urgency. Last thing we want to be is heading back into Rockford down 0-2.”
There will be a couple lineup changes from Game 1, but those haven’t been finalized yet after an optional morning skate.
Jack Campbell will get the start in goal — it was pre-planned that the goalies would rotate Games 1 and 2 — while Laxdal said Derek Meech will be in the lineup. It’s possible Texas could dress seven or six defensemen, while Mattias Janmark is also “in the discussion” to make his AHL playoff debut at forward.
“We’ll chew on that for a little bit this afternoon,” Laxdal said. “Then we’ll make the decision before game time.”
Projected lineup (with some guess work after optional skate):