LAST 10: Oklahoma City 3-5-0-2; Texas 6-1-2-1
Season Series: Tonight is the fifth of 12 meetings this season between Oklahoma City and Texas. Of the four previous meetings, the Barons have won three times.
Big Story: The Barons can move into a tie with Houston for third in the South Division and sixth in the Western Conference with a win tonight. They would also move to within a point of Texas.
Barons: After going winless for five games, the Barons have started to pick up their play as of late. They won two against San Antonio, lost in overtime to Houston then dropped a 3-0 decision last Friday to Texas. In their most recent outing, the Barons defeated Texas by a score of 6-2. OKC is sixth in the AHL in goals scored per game at 3.29. The Barons also have the best power play in the league at 23.2% but still have the worst penalty kill at 79.4%.
Stars: Texas has been one of the hottest teams in the AHL over the past six weeks. They have only lost three times in regulation in their last 19 games for a record of 12-3-2-2. However, two of those losses have come against the Oklahoma City Barons, who defeated the Stars 6-2 this past Saturday and previously won 6-4 back on November 21. Texas is fourth in the AHL in goals-against per game with an impressive 2.54 GAA.
Who's Hot: Since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins departed for the World Juniors, Mark Arcobello has filled in admirably in his spot. Playing primarily with Jordan Eberle and on the first power play unit, Arcobello has points in seven of his last nine games (3 goals and 8 assists for 11 points). Justin Schultz and Eberle are both tied for the lead in the AHL in points with 40. Schultz also has 16 goals which ranks third in the AHL -- only four off John Slaney's all-time mark for goals by a rookie AHL defenceman. Schultz has five goals in his last five games.
Injury Report: Antti Tyrvainen (wrist) is out. Dan Ringwald (arm) is out. Brandon Davidson (cancer treatment) is out. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is at camp for Team Canada's World Junior squad. For Texas, Tyler Sloan (undisclosed) is questionable and Scott Glennie (hand) is questionable.
Puck Drop: This will be the third straight meeting between these two teams with the previous two coming before the Christmas break. The Barons will need to build off Saturday's strong performance to win. Justin Schultz's comments following Saturday's game:
"The boys are happy we got that win before Christmas break and can head into it on a positive note and hopefully continue after. We worked a lot harder, we won battles, we got shots on net. I think we wanted it more tonight. That was probably one of our best performances of the year."
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