It’s a Friday night at the SAP Center, which means it’s $2 beer and $1 hot dog night for the fans in attendance, but for the San Jose Barracuda, it’s the final meeting of the 2018-19 season with a distant, but familiar foe in the Texas Stars. Due to the Colorado Eagles recently making the jump to the AHL this season, the Stars and the San Antonio Rampage were moved out of the Pacific division into the Central division. So where the 'Cuda would normally see the Stars two or three times a year, this will be their only appearance at the SAP Center during the regular season.
Oh, and the SAP Center ice crew made a small change to the ice.
One. Week. Away.#NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/7UIBESitoE— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) January 18, 2019
The first meeting of the season between these two teams was at the Stars’ home, the HEB Center in Cedar Park, where the Barracuda ran amok over the Stars, chasing Colton Point out of the net after giving up five goals en route to a 6-1 victory.
The Stars have not had the hockey gods on their side when they play at the Tank — or in one instance, the practice facility of the Sharks and Barracuda, Solar4America Ice. The Barracuda are 5-1-0-1 all time when playing the Stars on home ice.
The Baby Stars got their leading scorer back in Erik Condra on Wednesday when the Stars reassigned him back to Cedar Park. Through 33 AHL games, Condra has 15 goals and 21 points, good enough for a 1.06 point per game rate. He is closely followed in the points leaderboards by rookie Joel L’Esperance, who has 35 points on 22 goals and 13 assists. L’Esperance, in his first pro year coming out of Michigan Tech, is third in rookie scoring in the AHL.
Dylan Gambrell was recalled by the Sharks on Tuesday morning, so look for Matt Fonteyne to fill his spot in the Barracuda lineup. Tim Clifton is another option to slide in for tonight’s lineup.
Landon Bow should be getting the nod in net tonight for the Stars. He’s faced the brunt of the starts for the Stars, posting a .909 save percentage and a 2.54 goals against average in 26 games played.
Josef Korenar also seems poised to start tonight for the San Jose Barracuda. Recently named an All-Star by the AHL, the Czech rookie leads his fellow rookie netminders in goals against average with 2.29. Korenar stopped 23 shots in his last start against the Ontario Reign, but his start was unfortunately mired by an Alex Stalock-esque mistake. He was carrying the puck behind his net, but turned it over on the pass to Brett Sutter, who put it in as Korenar tried to hug the post.
Tonight’s game will be broadcast on AHLTV, with puck drop at 7 p.m. PST. Audio streaming will also be available on the Sharks app and on AM 1220 KDOW.