Throughout this AHL season there had been plenty of posts here at BDB highlighting the amazing play of the Texas Stars. So it should come as no surprise that the Stars are the first team to dawn the pretty little X next to their name in the standings, securing their spot in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs.
This is the Stars fourth trip to the postseason in five seasons. They have eight games left to be played in the regular season, one of which is this Saturday against the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Last year the Stars entered the Calder Cup Playoffs as the favorite to many in the West, but they fell short when they were defeated by the Oklahoma City Barons in the second round.
Most of the Stars’ offensive power this season came from two MVP candidates in Travis Morin and Colton Sceviour. The two were battling head-to-head for the top spot in scoring in the league, but Sceviour has since fallen to sixth place after being called up to the Dallas Stars following the scary incident that sidelined Rich Peverley March 10. Morin has continued to hold on to his No. 1 spot with 78 points, 31 goals and 47 assists in 59 games. The second place contender is almost 10 points behind Morin with more games played.
As the season comes to a close the Stars will have to wait it out to see who their opponent will be as the eighth-place spot in the West is still anyone’s spot. Rockford, Charlotte, Rochester and Oklahoma City are all within two points of each other and secure the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth place positions, respectively.
Another team close to a playoff spot in the West is the defending Calder Cup Champion, Grand Rapids Griffins. The Griffins have possibly the easiest clinching scenario this weekend and will be playoff bound with a win in Rockford tonight.
Over in the East, the Manchester Monarchs can be the first in the conference to clinch a playoff berth on Friday. The easiest way for them to clinch would be a regulation or overtime win versus Worcester. Should the Monarch’s lose, they can still clinch in the following ways:
A) A shootout win vs. Worcester AND a Hershey loss or shootout win vs. Albany,
B) An OTL/SOL vs. Worcester AND a Hershey OTL/SOL vs. Albany OR
C) A Hershey regulation loss vs. Albany.
Confused yet? Well, brace yourself because it’s only the beginning of a long final two weeks of crazy clinching scenarios. Saturday’s clinching possibilities rely on the outcome of Friday night’s games.
Either way, congrats to the Texas Stars and their fans, who will be sitting pretty and safe the next two weeks.
There is a total of 33 games this weekend – 12 tonight, 13 tomorrow and eight on Sunday. Let the playoff chasing madness begin!