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Preview: Monsters, Stars Finish Series in Cleveland

John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Texas Stars at Cleveland Monsters

Friday, March 17th at 7pm est

Saturday, March 18th at 7pm est

Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

Radio: 99x(99.1); 99x Online

Television: Fox Sports Ohio (March 18th game only)

Twitter: @TexasStars , #TXStars

@MonstersHockey , #CLEMonsters

Cleveland Monsters, 27-26-3-4; 61 points; 6th Central; 11th West

vs

Texas Stars, 27-29-1-4, 59 points, 7th Pacific, 13th West

Before we get into the thick of it, I'd like to apologize. Somehow I missed that the rules for entering the playoffs changed this summer. In the past, if the fifth team in your opposing division has a better win percentage than the fourth team in your division, the fifth team will bump the fourth team. This summer, they changed it to be the top four teams in the division get in the playoffs. This makes it easier for fans and writers to follow along with the playoff possibilities. Basically, I've been making my life way harder than it should be.

With that being said, the Monsters have to depend on themselves and the central division to get into the playoffs. Currently, the Monsters have the same win percentage as the Charlotte Checkers, .508. However, the Checkers have one more win than the Monsters. Now the Monsters sit in sixth place staring up at the playoffs with time winding down on the regular season. Grabbing all four points this weekend, whether in regulation or not, will be crucial to their success down the stretch.

The Monsters head home hungry for a win after dropping their last two games. Unfortunately, the Texas Stars are looking to snap their four-game lose streak in Cleveland.

Travis Morin leads the Stars in scoring with 46 points in the form of 20 goals and 26 assists. The Monsters will need to keep their eye on him.

Another person the Monsters will have to keep an eye on is Dillon Heatherington. Yes, the former Monsters who was traded to the Stars in March. Since trade deadline, Heatherington has notched two assists with the Stars. He also knows the ins and outs of his former teammates. This will be the first time Heatherington plays against the Monsters since being traded.

One thing the Monsters have in their favor is the fact the Stars sit towards the bottom of the pack in both the power play and penalty kill. Even though the Monsters power play hasn't been as tight and crisp as it should be, the Monsters won't have to worry about their power play unit as much as normal.

One thing is for certain, the Monsters must come out strong and keep the momentum going the entire game. When leading after the first period, the Stars have a 15-0-0-1 record. Once the Stars get their legs under them, there is no stopping the Stars.

At the end of this weekend, the Monsters will have a better view of where they will end up at the end of the regular season.

Stars Monsters
15-0-0-1 Leading After 1 9-2-1-2
13-2-0-1 Leading After 2 15-2-0-2
7-4-0-2 Tied After 1 13-8-2-1
11-4-0-2 Tied After 2 9-5-3-0
5-25-1-1 Trailing After 1 5-16-0-1
3-23-1-1 Trailing After 2 3-19-0-2
14-15-1-3 Outshooting Opponent 12-9-1-2
11-11-0-1 Outshot by Opponent 15-17-2-1

Season Series

01/06/2017 – Monsters (2) @ Stars (4) = L – recap

01/07/2017 – Monsters (2) @ Stars (1) = W (SO) – recap

03/17/2017

03/18/2017

Stats Matchup

Stars Monsters
2.93 (15) GPG 2.43 (29)
3.39 (28) GAPG 2.83 (16)
15.3% (24) PP% 13.7% (29)
74.6% (30) PK% 84.3% (6)
Travis Morin, 20 G Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 14
Travis Morin, 26 A Leader T.J. Tynan, 23
Travis Morin, 46 P Leader Sonny Milano, 31
Dustin Stevenson, 108 PIM Leader Brett Gallant, 100
11-16-1-2 Road/Home 14-9-2-2
3-5-0-2 Last 10 3-6-1-0
0-2-0-2 Streaks 0-2-0-0