By Jim Byers, on 12/22/2012

Texas Stars (15-8-2-2) at Oklahoma City Barons (13-10-1-3)

Barons Game 28  |  Home Game 15 |  AHL Game 420
Dec. 22, 2012, 7 pm CST  | Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Radio: KXY 96.1 FM
AHL Media Kit:

TONIGHT: The Barons play the second of back-to-back home games against the Texas Stars (Dallas Stars) in the final game before a 4-day Christmas break. OKC is in stretch where 3 straight and 4 out of 5 games are against Texas. Starting last night, when Cristopher Nilstorp made 21 saves in a 3-0 Texas win, the Barons and Stars meet 5 times in 24 days. The Barons lead the 12-game season series 2-1. OKC has 30 points and is 4th in the South Division and tied for 7th in the conference. Texas has 34 points, 2nd in the division and tied for 4th in the conference.

OFF THE TOP: The Barons have out-scored their opposition in the first period 33-23, those 33 goals the most by an AHL team in the opening 20 minutes. The Barons have had a lead or tie at the first intermission in 11 straight games, during which they are 4-5-0-2. The last time OKC trailed after 1 period was Nov. 21 at Texas, when the Stars led 3-1 after 20 minutes in an eventual 6-4 OKC win. Last night’s game was scoreless entering the third period. It marked the first time since a 2-1 OT win at Abbotsford Nov. 10 that the Barons had failed to score by the second intermission.

STAR GAZING: The Barons are 14-7-0-2 all-time against the Stars, with a 7-3-0-2 mark at the Cox Center. Texas’ Cristopher Nilstorp has posted consecutive shutouts. As a team, Texas has gone more than 7 periods and 156:53 without allowing a goal dating to a 2-1 shootout loss at Abbotsford on Saturday. Texas has at least 1 standing point in 8 straight (6-0-1-1), 12 of 13 (9-1-2-1) and 16 of 18. The Stars are 12-2-2-2 starting with a shootout loss Nov. 10 vs. Lake Erie after opening the season 3-6-0-0. The Barons are one of just 2 teams (Grand Rapids is the other) to have beaten the Stars in regulation over their past 18 games.

HOMEBODIES: The Barons are 8-4-1-1 at home, a .643 standing point percentage that is tied for eighth in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. OKC’s 18 home standing points are tied for fifth with 2 other clubs, 5 behind Abbotsford. Jordan Eberle has 11 goals and 14 assists at home this season in 14 games played. Justin Schultz has accumulated 8 goals and 15 assists in 14 home contests.

MESSIN’ WITH TEXAS: OKC is in a stretch where 13 of 14 games are against Texas-based teams spanning Nov. 29-Jan. 1. The only break was a Dec. 11 home game against Peoria. Thirty-six of OKC’s 76 games are against Texas clubs. The Barons are a combined 6-6-0-3 against Texas teams, 5-2-0-1 at home.

EBERLE AND SCHULTZ LEAD THE WAY: Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz share the AHL point lead with 38. Eberle tops the league with 19 goals, 13 in the last 12 games. He was the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for November. Eberle enters tonight leading the AHL in shooting percentage at 26.8. Schultz leads the AHL with 24 assists and 17 power play points. The CCM/AHL Player of the Month for October and Rookie of the Month in November, Schultz has collected multiple points in 13 of 27 games played, including 9 contests with 2 assists. Schultz’s 24 assists are more than half-way to the AHL rookie record for assists by a defenseman, 47, by Mike Gaul of Hershey in 1997-98. He’s 6 goals away from matching the rookie defenseman goal scoring record (20), set by John Slaney of Baltimore in 1992-93.

MORE SCHULTZ: After being held pointless last night, Justin Schultz has points in 14 of the last 16 games, collecting 8 goals and 15 assists in that span. Schultz has been held off the scoresheet on 4 occasions this season and in 3 of those the Barons were shut out. Last night was the first time Schultz was blanked at home.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Barons are No. 1 in overall power play percentage at 22.9, with 27 goals in 118 opportunities...The Barons are also No. 1 at home at 32.2 (19-for-59)...OKC has killed 60 of its last 69 times short spanning 16 games (87.0), but their season PK rate of 79.7 is 29th...The Barons are 10-for-11 on the penalty kill in 3 games against Texas this season...Taylor Hall registered 5 of OKC’s 21 shots on goal last night...Justin Schultz did not record a shot for the second time this season (Nov. 2 vs. Houston).

Last 5 Games:
Date        Opp.     Result    OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie               Attn. 
Dec. 11    Peo       L, 2-4       Roy (3, EN, 30)             Allen (2, 26)                 2,580
Dec. 14    SA         W, 5-1      Danis (1, 25)                 Markstrom (L)/Grm-Mor.  2,507
Dec. 15    SA         W, 5-3      Roy (3, 23)                   Grmt-Morris (4, EN, 20) 6,491
Dec. 16    @ Hou   SOL, 3-4  Danis (3, 42)                 Hackett (3, 17)             9,304
Dec. 21    Texas    L, 0-3       Danis (2, EN, 23)          Nilstorp (0, 21)              2,784

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                Site                            Time     Broadcast
Dec. 27  @ Texas            Cedar Park Center      7:30      KXY 96.1 FM
Dec. 28  SA                    Cox Center                 7:00      KXY 96.1 FM
Dec. 31  Texas               Cox Center                 6:00      1340 AM
Jan. 1     Houston           Toyota Center             5:05      1340 AM
Jan. 4     Grand Rapids   Van Andel Arena        6:00      KXY 96.1 FM 

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