Morning Skate: Texas Stars looking to continue offensive surge against Stockton

The Texas Stars and Stockton Heat will battle for the second time this season. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

The Texas Stars and Stockton Heat will battle for the second time this season. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK — The Texas Stars’ offense hasn’t been stifled very often this season.

Texas is averaging a league-high 4.25 goals per game and have scored at least five goals in six of their 12 games.

The one team that put the Stars at a standstill? Tonight’s opponent the Stockton Heat, who will visit the Cedar Park Center tonight at 7:00 p.m.

A little more than three weeks ago Stockton ousted Texas 1-0. The Stars fired 36 shots, but couldn’t beat Stockton’s Jon Gillies.

“Those games happen sometimes,” Stars defenseman Stephen Johns said. “I thought we played well, 1-0 games are fun to play in. It’s tight, you can’t make a mistake, and I’m expecting the same type of game tonight.”

Stockton hasn’t won a game since Gillies whitewashed Texas on Oct. 21. The Heat have struggled offensively and have only scored 19 goals this season — the second-lowest in the AHL (surprisingly, the Grand Rapids Griffins are last with just 18 goals).

The Heat have been good defensively and limit opponents to 2.88 goals per game, and both victories have come in the form of shutouts by Gillies.

And unfortunately for Stockton, Gillies is injured and is out with a lower-body injury. Calgary did acquire Kevin Poulin in a trade to help out their AHL affiliate, and the newest Stockton goaltender allowed four goals on 34 shots.

Of course, the Stars aren’t taking the Heat lightly.

“They’re a well-coached, aggressive physical team,” Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “They got some good skill up front. They played last night in San Antonio, so we’ve got to be at our best here.”

Texas will field the same lineup it used in a 6-3 victory against San Antonio on Wednesday, and Jack Campbell will make his second straight start in goal.

Travis Morin missed the morning skate Saturday after the birth of his third son, Bradley Michael Morin, on Friday night. Morin will still be in the lineup this evening.

Projected lineup:
Justin Dowling-Travis Morin-Brendan Ranford
Jason Dickinson-Devin Shore-Matej Stransky
Derek Hulak-Gemel Smith-Greg Rallo
Emil Molin-Cory Kane-Branden Troock

Esa Lindell-Stephen Johns
Ludwig Bystrom-Julius Honka
Patrik Nemeth-Jesse Blacker

Jack Campbell