They sulked for a few weeks, but they are back to playing decent hockey again under Todd Nelson. They have points in four of their last five with three wins, and they are in the middle of a stretch where they will play eight straight two-game series against various teams.
Six games into that stretch, they've split two of those series and swept the Grand Rapids Griffins at home. If I were a bettin' man, I'd put my money on another split this weekend against the Aeros.
The Barons can score enough goals to win usually; their problems usually stem from the blueline and their rock solid goalie from last season, Yann Danis, has been a human being this year.
The Aeros are still missing several key players due to injury and callup, so they likely won't hit four goals unless the Barons really don't come to play this weekend.
Houston is currently fifth in the conference and currently on a mathematical pace to land the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. Most AHL experts think and agree that 86 points will get you into the playoffs, and the Aeros are still 25 points away from that.
Still a long way to go, but they are in better shape than some other teams below them in the standings.
Also, the crowd Saturday night is going to be massive - the lower bowl is sold out, and they are busy selling seats upstairs. The Aeros have played pretty good in front of large crowds the last two years, but it is autograph night and that usually spells doom for our boys.
Here are some notes on the Aeros and Barons from the Aeros PR office:
Houston Aeros (27-19-4-3, 61 points) at Oklahoma City Barons (23-19-2-5, 53 points)
The Houston Aeros and the Oklahoma City Barons meet for the eighth of 12 games this season. The Aeros took the last meeting on Jan. 1, a 4-2 win for Houston at the Toyota Center – the team’s fifth straight win over Oklahoma City. The first three meetings of the season were at the Cox Convention Center in downtown OKC. The Barons visited the Toyota Center for the first time this season with a pair of games in late November. Houston swept the two-game set with a 2-1 shootout win on Nov. 29 and a 4-3 regulation win on Nov. 30. Houston has taken six of the seven previous meetings this year (6-1-0-0), including three shootout wins.
Houston plays the final of eight straight on the road. The longest road trip of the season has included stops in Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Rockford, Texas, Rochester, Hamilton, Toronto and Oklahoma City. The team will travel 6,496 miles over 17 days prior to returning to home ice on Saturday, Feb. 27 to host the OKC Barons. The Aeros claimed a 2-1 shootout decision on Monday night at Toronto, moving to 5-2-0-0 on the road trip. The win moved Houston to 14-11-2-1 on the road and 6-4-0-0 over the last ten games.
Oklahoma City enters Friday’s game coming off a 4-0 loss at Texas on Feb. 16. The team is 15-8-2-1 at home this season and 5-3-0-2 over the last ten games. The Barons have three straight wins at home, where they outscore their opponents 91-83.
Over the last three years, Houston and Oklahoma City have met 25 times. The Aeros are 16-6-0-3 all-time, including a 9-2-0-2 record on home ice. Oklahoma City is 9-9-1-6 all-time against Houston, including a 5-6-1-4 record at Toyota Center. Oklahoma City claimed three of four in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs and posted a 7-0-0-1 record during the 2011-12 regular season against Houston. The Barons outscored the Aeros 26-12 last season, posting a perfect 4-0-0-0 mark at home and a 3-0-0-1 record at the Toyota Center. Houston took nine out of 10 games in 10-11.
Houston has outscored Oklahoma City 27-20 in the seven previous meetings this season. The Aeros are 8-for-31 (25.8%) on the power play against the Barons this year, while Oklahoma City is 7-for-28 (25%) in the series. Six of the top seven scorers for Oklahoma City against Houston are now in the NHL. Defenseman Justin Schultz (2g,7a), forward Jordan Eberle (2g,7a), forward Taylor Hall (4g,3a), Teemu Hartikainen (1g,3a), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1g,2a) and Magnus Paajarvi (1g,2a) are all with the Edmonton Oilers. Center Mark Arcobello is the series’ active leading scorer with four goals and six assists for ten points in seven games against the Aeros. The Aeros are missing two of their top three scorers against OKC this season. Jason Zucker (5g,3a) is currently in Minnesota with the Wild. Defenseman Brian Connelly (8a) has been out with an injury. Forwards Justin Fontaine and Charlie Coyle are also among the team leaders. Fontaine has three goals and seven points in six games against the Barons, while Coyle has three goals and six points in seven games.