PREVIEW: Barons at Houston
Barons look to make three-for-three on the weekend with stop in Houston
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PUCK DROP: 4:05 p.m. MST
LAST 10: Oklahoma City 5-4-0-1; Houston 7-2-0-1
Season Series: Tonight is the sixth of 12 meetings this season between Oklahoma City and Houston. So far, Houston has taken four out of five meetings with two of their wins coming in a shootout. The Barons' lone victory came in Oklahoma City on November 2.
Big Story: The Barons have an opportunity to jump past Houston into second in the South Division and fourth in the Western Conference. They would also move to within three points division-leading Charlotte with a game in hand.
Barons: After going winless for five games, the Barons exploded with a pair of home-ice wins this weekend against San Antonio. In the tight Western Conference, the Barons had won five in a row prior to their slide (and picked up points in six of seven). That streak moved them from 11th up to 4th in the Western Conference then the five-game winless streak saw them fall back down to 10th. Now the club is in 5th after a couple of big wins.
Aeros: Houston was red hot with six straight wins through the end of November, which included two wins over Oklahoma City. However, they have started to slide a bit as of late with only one win in their last four. The Aeros, like the Barons, are playing their third game in three days after playing in Charlotte on Friday and Saturday. Friday they lost to the Checkers 3-2 in a shootout and on Saturday they were blanked 3-0. ... Mikael Granlund is back in the lineup after missing over a month due to an injury suffered in a game against the Barons. However, Granlund has struggled with only one assist in his five games back.
Who's Hot: Jordan Eberle’s 5-point game last night, on 4 goals and 1 assist, matched OKC’s club record. Eberle joins Linus Omark (5 goals on Nov. 7, 2010) and Alexandre Giroux (3G, 2A on Jan. 29, 2011) as the only Barons with 5-point games. Eberle’s 4 goals marked the Barons’ first hat trick since Colin McDonald scored 4 times against San Antonio April 8, 2011. The Barons had 27 two-goal performances between hat tricks. Eberle’s 4-goal game matches Albany’s Bobby Butler for the AHL single game high this season. Butler’s occurred on Wednesday. ... Mark Arcobello has been clicking well with Eberle. He picked up four assists last night and has six assists in his last three 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.
Puck Drop: Barons head coach Todd Nelson remarked that he was pleased with the team's effort Saturday against San Antonio. The team has struggled to win one-goal games but managed to weather the late charge by the Rampage to win 5-3 (with an empty-netter).
"It was a very good win for us,” said Nelson. “It was a very good game. I thought San Antonio played a lot better tonight. They came out stronger. We had key goals at certain times of the game. It was great efforts tonight from Jordan Eberle and Mark Arcobello. It was a good team effort."
- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com