Hot Team: Texas Stars
The Stars are two points out of first in the South Division after winning their last six games by a combined score of 21-8. Cristopher Nilstorp was in net for four of those wins and the lanky Swede is being rewarded for a strong AHL season by being called up to Dallas Stars training camp, where he’ll compete with Richard Bachmann for the chance to back up Kari Lehtonen.
Nilstorp’s departure leaves room for rookie Jack Campbell, who struggled over the first few months of the season but appears to have settled down. The 2010 first-round pick made 36 saves in a 3-0 win against Oklahoma City on Sunday for his second win in two starts this month.
Texas is also losing forward prospect Cody Eakin to Dallas, but the Stars’ strength this season has come from the net out, so whether or not their winning streak continues depends on Campbell.
Cold Team: Abbotsford Heat
The Heat hoped a return to Abbotsford would halt their losing ways, but they have won one of four games since returning home. Abbotsford scored one goal in two games against Chicago on Friday and Saturday as its offence continues to sputter, with only 81 goals this season.
Losing top prospect and playmaker Sven Baertschi to Calgary won’t help the Heat’s scoring woes, which have them in a tailspin since starting the season 13-2-2-2. Abbotsford has won two of its last 10 and hasn’t had back-to-back home victories since Nov. 13 and 14.
Abbotsford has four more games to turn things around at home before the team is back on the road, where it’s 6-6-1-3.
Surveying the schedule:
- Hamilton will start the week against the Heat in Abbotsford on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning home to host Toronto on Saturday. The Bulldogs are last in the AHL with 30 points.
- Grand Rapids travels to Charlotte for games on Wednesday and Thursday before heading north to face Rockford on Saturday. The Griffins are 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games and lead the Midwest Division by six points.