By Jim Byers, on 12/21/2012

Texas Stars (14-8-2-2) at Oklahoma City Barons (13-9-1-3)

Barons Game 27  |  Home Game 14 |  AHL Game 406
Dec. 21, 2012, 7 pm CST  | Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Radio: KXY 96.1 FM
AHL Media Kit:
TONIGHT: The Barons play the first of back-to-back home games against the Texas Stars (Dallas Stars). OKC meets Texas in each of the next 3 games, 4 of the next 5 and 5 times in 24 days starting tonight. The Barons lead the 12-game season series 2-0, winning 4-2 at the Cox Center Oct. 28 and 6-4 in Cedar Park Nov. 21. OKC enters tonight off a 4-3 shootout loss at Houston on Sunday. The Barons have 30 points and are 4th in the South Division and tied for 7th in the conference. Texas has 32 points, tied for 2nd in the division and tied for 4th in the conference.

OFF THE TOP: OKC dropped a 4-3 shootout at Houston in the most recent game on Sunday. Exactly half of OKC’s 26 games have been decided by 1 goal. The Barons are 5-4-1-3 in 1-goal finals. The Barons have out-scored their opposition in the first period 33-23. Those 33 goals are the most by an AHL team in the opening 20 minutes. The Barons have had a lead or tie at the first intermission in 10 straight games, during which they are 4-4-0-2. 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.

STAR GAZING: The Barons are 14-6-0-2 all-time against the Stars, with a 7-2-0-2 mark at the Cox Center. Texas enters tonight off a 2-0 shutout of San Antonio on Wednesday at Cedar Park Center. Cristopher Nilstorp made 27 saves for the Stars in his third shutout of the season. Texas has at least 1 standing point in 7 straight (5-0-1-1), 11 of 12 (8-1-2-1) and 15 of 17. The Stars are 11-2-2-2 dating to 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 over their past 17 games.

HOMEBODIES: The Barons are 8-3-1-1 at home, a .692 standing point percentage that is tied for fourth in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves. OKC’s 18 home standing points are tied for fourth with 2 other clubs, 5 behind Abbotsford. Jordan Eberle has 11 goals and 14 assists at home this season in 13 games played. Justin Schultz has accumulated 8 goals and 15 assists in 13 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 6-5-0-3 against Texas teams, 5-1-0-1 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 11 games. He’s the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for November. Eberle enters tonight leading the AHL in shooting percentage at 27.5. 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 26 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: Justin Schultz has points in 14 of the last 15 games, collecting 8 goals and 15 assists in that span. Schultz had a 10-game point streak from Nov. 10-Dec. 8, which remains the second-longest in the AHL this season, and a 9-game point run from the season opener though Nov. 3.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Barons are No. 1 in overall power play percentage at 23.9, with 27 goals in 113 opportunities...The Barons are also No. 1 at home, 35.2 (19-for-54)...OKC has killed 58 of its last 67 times short spanning 15 games (86.6), but their season PK rate of 79.3 is 30th....Jordan Eberle’s 5-point game on Saturday, (4 goals, 1 assist) matched OKC’s club record for points in a contest. Linus Omark (5 goals on Nov. 7, 2010) and Alexandre Giroux (3G, 2A on Jan. 29, 2011) previously had 5-point games. Eberle’s 4 goals marked the Barons’ first hat trick since Colin McDonald had 4 goals at San Antonio April 8, 2011.

Last 5 Games:
Date        Opp.     Result    OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie               Attn. 
Dec. 9      @ SA     L, 2-3       Danis (3, 27)                 Markstrom (2, 36)         8,435
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, EN, 42)          Hackett (3, 17)             9,304

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date      Opp.                Site                            Time     Broadcast
Dec. 22  Texas               Cox Center                 7:00      KXY 96.1 FM
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

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