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Oklahoma City Barons at Houston Aeros - Game 1 Discussion "This Train Is Bound For Glory"

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Oklahoma City at Houston Game One. This train was bound for (Calder Cup) glory. Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.stevenchristyphotography.com" target="new">Steven Christy</a>. All rights reserved.
Oklahoma City at Houston Game One. This train was bound for (Calder Cup) glory. Photo courtesy of Steven Christy. All rights reserved.

This train is bound for glory, this train.
This train is bound for glory, this train.
This train is bound for glory,
Don't carry nothing but the righteous and the holy.
This train is bound for glory, this train.
- Woody Guthrie

Glory, by definition, is something that requires hard work. Sir Webster has this to say on the matter -- GLORY: High renown or honor won by notable achievements. That "high renown" and "honor" comes with a healthy dose of determination. One step further, the achievement has to be notable. It has to be something with which separates you from the rest of those pushing towards the same thing. And as the Woody Guthrie sentiment above mentions, here's hoping the Oklahoma City train is bound for glory.

It's gameday in Houston. Game one of the first round series (dubbed the "E" series) between the Oklahoma City Barons and Houston Aeros begins this evening at 7 Central. Both teams are limping their way into the postseason, but both are willing to prove that they clearly belong there. Houston will look to play spoiler. Taking out the number one seed is quite the trophy. Yet the Barons have there own case to fill. After a rough and tumble first round playoff series last year against Hamilton that resulted in a seven game losing effort, OKC wants to smack Houston in the mouth as they have done so many times before. One of the best teams over 70+ games has an eye on Calder Cup glory. Time to board the train.

The key component to tonight's game is who suffers the first penalty. We'll get an instant feel for where both teams find themselves on the PP and the PK. The Barons need to get better on the man advantage, but hopefully stay consistent (2nd best in the entire AHL) on the kill. The Aeros will attempt to get both special teams rolling without giving up too many chances for the Barons.

Hackett vs. Danis should be an entertaining one to watch. Both have run through a similar amount of games, but the comparison ends there. Danis is seasoned, and coming off one of the best professional years in his career. Hackett, only in his sophomore pro season, has virtually matched his stats from a year ago. But remember, this kid played all 24 postseason games last year, and played in those games well enough to get his team to the Cup Finals. That's quite the leg up. But the battle will be fun to watch.

My pick to make a difference in this game is quite simple. Teemu Hartikainen has played inspired hockey of late. He's feisty, determined, angry, and poised. His stint with the Oilers has rejuvenated his oomph. He'll no doubt play on the first or second scoring lines because he's found a way to instantly make the Barons better upon returning from Edmonton. Ryan Keller, Josh Green, and Bryan Helmer should all be rested and ready to go. Which is important given their leadership intangibles. Subsequently, we've seen Martin Marincin become consistent and prideful in his play. Don't be surprised if he suits up for game one. He and Alex Plante have made a nice twosome for nearly a week, even in defeat they seem rock solid.

The starting lineups for each squad will be much as we saw them to finish the season. Very few moves have been made or injuries suffered that might alter the starting lines.

Oklahoma City Barons

Magnus Paajarvi - Josh Green - Ryan Keller
Teemu Hartikainen - Mark Arcobello - Tyler Pitlick
Hunter Tremblay - Anton Lander - Philippe Cornet
Triston Grant - Chris VandeVelde - Antti Tyrvainen

Dylan Yeo - Bryan Helmer
Bryan Rodney - Colten Teubert
Martin Marincin - Alex Plante

Yann Danis

Houston Aeros

It's really anyone's guess. With transactions with the wild well into the 50's this season, the Aeros haven't had much consistency. But the likely top line scoring threat will be the three listed below. They've also been none to ice 7 defenders which is rather odd, but out of necessity based on injury situations suffered to this team.

Justin Fontaine - Jeff Taffe - Jon DiSalvatore

Tune In

The game can be streamed via the iHeartRadio app or via iHeartRadio online by searching for 96.1 KXXY. WARNING: There will be country music. You can also find a lower quality, but more consistent stream via Sports Juice. Simply search "Oklahoma City Barons". If you'd like to watch the game, visit www.ahllive.com for pricing (single game is $9.99).