The beloved Rampage finish off a disappointing 5-game homestand today against the Texas Stars. It's Star Wars night so at least the kids should have fun.
- Cody Corbett was called up from Ft Wayne in case Nikita Zadorov incurred additional discipline from the AHL. I'd like to see him get in a game before heading back to the Komets but I'm not sure right now is a good time for that.
- Cheryl from BSN interviewed Andrew Agozzino last week check it out here
Duncan Siemens is out with UBI, Rampage Nate spotted him Thursday at the game with some sort of bandage or soft cast on his right hand. He's considered d2d and hopefully will play on the upcoming road trip.
M-A Cliche is also d2d with UBI. No word on his projected return to the lineup
Oh how this team loves to play with your sanity. After skating around aimlessly vs Charlotte for 42 minutes and 18 seconds, the Rampage came to life after a vicious hit by Nikita Zadorov, which got him kicked out for the rest of the night. Mikko Rantanen said enough is enough and proceeded to singlehandedly tie the game through sheer force of will. He scored a shorthanded goal during Z’s 5 minute major and 10 minutes later tied things up at 2. But alas, the Rampage couldn’t hold the fort long enough. Very late in the game, Mat Clark’s weak clearing attempt let the Checkers hold the puck in the zone, Evs couldn’t get a stick on it either and Charlotte put it past Pickard with 7.5 seconds remaining. It was that close.
If there was any doubt the Rampage were in a slump there sure isn’t now. On Thursday, Stockton fired 42 shots at Calvin Pickard, finding success on 3 of them, and handed San Antonio their 4th straight regulation loss. Regardless of what happens on Sunday against Texas, this homestand has been nothing short of a disaster.
The pattern recently has been a generally mediocre to ok 1st period, getting absolutely destroyed in every facet of the game for the 2nd period, and either playing tentatively or trying to come from behind in the 3rd. In the last 4 2nd periods the Rampage have been outshot 55-28 and outscored 6-1. In the 1st/3rds they are only being outshot 84-77 and outscored 9-7. Great, we’ve isolated the problem but what exactly is the cause? It’s easy to say they’re "not moving their feet" or "not getting pucks to the net" but telling guys to move their feet or get pucks to the net won’t fix this. There are a few guys that are playing poorly/over their heads right now but it doesn’t seem like they’re any worse in the 2nd than in general. This happened with the Monsters too from time to time but that was mostly sitting on leads too early and I don’t see that here.
After the game Coach Dean talked about an "identity crisis" and that they were a bigger, heavier team that was tough to play against earlier in the year. Maybe, but I doubt it. They’ve basically swapped Martinsen for Everberg, which is a net gain on paper. Obviously they’re missing Ben Street and his 6 shots a night & playmaking abilities but they were still winning games after he left. Right now it’s easy to see they’re missing Duncan and Clish, Labrie and Cheek definitely aren’t getting it done, hopefully it’s that simple and those two come back by the road trip to Winny/Ioway.
Preview: The Stars again
While the Rampage have been flopping about hemorrhaging points over the last 4 games, Texas hasn't been much better. They also lost their last 4 but picked up a couple loser points at least. Their scoring has come back to earth, no longer averaging over 4 goals per game, and their defense is still poor. This has all the makings of a wild one.
It doesn't sound like there will be any lineup changes from Thursday. Here are the Lines/Pairs from then:
Picks, of course
Scratched: Mags (nacho), Duncan (UBI), Cliche (UBI)
Again, I'd love to see Corbs get a game but the only spot I can see him slotting into is next to Bigras on his off hand and there's no way Dean & Randy are going to do that after losing 4 in a row, even tho' Labrie has been atrocious. Something needs to be done about the 4th because it's been extremely poor lately. Bordy doesn't seem to be able to do anything without Cliche next to him and Cheek has been MIA for a few weeks now. When the Rampage were cruising along the 4th could eat good minutes and keep the rest of the lineup more rested but that's long gone.
Rampage vs Texas 5pm in the ET, radio on Ticket 760
Standings - SAR still in 2nd somehow, 1 point ahead of TX
Off to Manitoba to play the Moose Weds/Thurs
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The Avs/Blues game starts an hour after this one, pick your poison.