The key matchup in the Barons' Western Conference semifinal series against top seeded Texas could be the Barons' offense versus Stars' goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp.
The Barons scored 23 goals in a first-round series against Charlotte. Nilstorp allowed only five goals in four games against Milwaukee.
Oklahoma City won the regular-season series, taking eight of 12 games against Texas. But you can disregard six pre-New Year games.
The Barons won five of six when Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz were in OKC during the NHL lockout.
The South Division rivals split the six 2013 matchups when the Oilers' young stars were in Edmonton.
A best-of-7 series starts Thursday night and Saturday night in Cedar Park, Texas, an Austin suburb. Games 3, 4 and 5 are scheduled next week at the Cox Convention Center.
“Each series is different,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “Charlotte didn't have their regular goaltender. Their top goalie from the season stayed up with Carolina. Texas is a different hockey team.
“Nilstorp is a quality goaltender. We'll have our hands full trying to beat him. We'll have to try and put some traffic in front of him and see what we can get going. He gave up only five goals. But the way our offense is producing we should have some success.”
Led by team captain Josh Green's nine points, the Barons have four of the top five scorers in the playoffs. Nilstorp, though, posted a 0.96 goals against average and an off-the-charts .963 saves percentage.
Nilstorp's first-round series stats against Milwaukee were vastly different from his 1-4-1 regular-season record against OKC that included a 4.43 GAA and .846 saves percentage. But five of those six outings were when Eberle, Schultz and Hall combined for 16 goals.
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AHL Playoff leaders
Pts. Player, team
9 Josh Green, OKC
8 Teemu Hartikainen, OKC
8 Toni Rajala, OKC
8 Justin Fontaine, Houston
7 Mark Arcobello, OKC
7 Ondrei Palat, Syracuse
6 Greg Scott, Toronto
6 Zach Boychuk, Charlotte
6 Tyler Johnson, Syracuse
GAA Player, team (save pct.)
0.96 Cristopher Nilstorp, Texas (.963)
1.62 Drew MacIntyre, Toronto (.949)
1.74 Curtis McElhinney, Spring. (.943)
1.83 Petr Mrazek, Grand Rapids (.924)
1.87 Jeff Zatkoff, WB/Scranton (.945)
2.33 Cedrick Desjardins, Syr. (.884)
2.97 Yann Danis, Okla. City (.913)
3.61 Philipp Grubauer, Hershey (.907)