TEXAS STARS

Stars fighting for playoff lives with regular season winding down

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If the playoffs started today, the Stars would be on the outside looking in.

With the regular season in its final week, the defending Western Conference Calder Cup representatives need to win three straight games and get some help for a return trip to the postseason. 

Texas takes on rival San Antonio Rampage in all three games to finish off the regular season. The Stars host the Rampage on Wednesday night, travel to San Antonio on Saturday and finish the regular season at home on Sunday. 

The Stars finished March with three straight wins and started April with a 2-1 shootout win on Friday over the Rockford IceHogs and lost to Rockford 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday. 

“We’ve been in the playoff mode for three weeks,” head coach Derek Laxdal said after Friday’s win. “Give our guys a lot of credit. They grinded out a hard-fought win. There’s a ‘never say die’ attitude in that dressing room. A lot of good, young energy in that room.”

The magic number for the Stars as of Tuesday is eight, meaning they must win all three of their final games and get some help from the teams ahead of them in the Central Division standings. Texas has qualified for the postseason in five oft e last six years. 

The Stars’ quest continued with a win on Friday, when Ty Dellandrea scored his first goal with the team and Jake Oettinger made 23 saves in his first start at the HEB Center. Brad McClure scored his fourth goal of the season in the first period. 

On Saturday, Joel L’Esperance, who recently returned from a long stint in the NHL, scored his 30th goal with Texas this season in the first period. The Stars and IceHounds scored one goal in each of the final two periods to send the game to overtime and a shootout. 

Texas currently has 80 points in the regular season. Even with wins in the final three games, their point total will be the third-lowest in franchise history. 

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Email: sports@hillcountrynews.com

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