Dallas Stars 1 - New York Rangers 0
At this point, all Stars fans must be thinking why it took so long for Richard Bachman to get a shot to play in the NHL. Bachman was absolutely incredible last night, stopping all 34 shots that he faced in a 1-0 win over the New York Rangers, one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The kid looked like Kari Lehtonen did earlier this season, staring down a gun barrel of unrelenting shots and swatting them all aside.
Trevor Daley scored the game winner with five minutes left in game off, get this, a Jeff Woywitka turnover (boy do Stars fans ever know how that feels). It was nice being on the other side of one of those for change and it undoubtedly was an endless resource of comedy for Stars fans.
Woywitka had the puck in his own zone and for an unknown reason shot the puck off the wall to a spot where three Stars were waiting at center ice while the rest of team was making a change. That lead to the Stars going into the Rangers zone with a 4-on-3 advantage. Slick passing from Morrow to Daley to Ribeiro back to a waiting Daley ended up in a goal as Daley went five-hole on Henrik Lundqvist, who had also been solid in goal (but not as good as Bachman).
The story of this game though was still Bachman. Not only did he make the saves, he made them with authority. He was kicking them far out to the boards or catching them all in glove. Rebound chances were a rarity for him and when they did happen, the defense was there to clear the puck or take out the man trying to get the chance. He made huge saves when the Rangers had multiple odd man rushes while Dallas was on the power-play, sliding across his goal and challenging the shooter on his big time stops (the Rangers had better chances shorthanded than the Stars did on the PP, go figure).
Andrew Raycroft was always on shaky ground but was on the team because Dallas was unsure about their backup situation. It's obvious now that Bachman deserves to stay with team for the rest of the season, unless Dallas decides that he needs daily playing time. That's the only reason that I can think of for sending Bachman back down to the minors because he's made Raycroft expendable. With him and Jack Campbell waiting in the wings, the future between the pipes looks fantastic and I expect that Dallas will field a whole lot of phone calls from other teams in the coming years.
Dallas went to 17-11-1 (35 pts) with the win while the Rangers fell to 17-7-4 (38 pts). Losses by the Kings and Sharks puts the Stars two points clear of all others in the Pacific Division. The Stars next game is against the New York Islanders (Matt Moulson!) on Thursday Dec. 15.
- The shutout was not only Bachman's first of his NHL career, it was the first for the Stars this season.
- Sheldon Souray nearly killed Lundqvist with a shot in the second period. Souray's shot hit Lundqvist in the collarbone/shoulder area and Lundqvist was in immediate and obvious pain. The game had to be stopped for a couple of minutes as he shook it off. He's probably got a nice big bruise in the area today.
- Eric Nystrom almost got his 11th goal of season on a breakaway, but Lundqvist stoned him at the net (with a little help from a backcheck). He would have another breakaway in the third, shorthanded this time, and Lundqvist would stone him again.
- Steve Ott was great in the face-off circle yesterday, winning 10 of 15 puck drops. He only had three in the defensive zone, but won all of them and was 5 of 7 against Brad Richards.
- Richards meanwhile had five shots on goal but had a pretty quiet game and was -1 on the game.
- The Stars shut down the Rangers power-play, which had been on fire coming into this game. New York had scored a PP goal in eight of their last nine games before this one.
1st Period: No goals
2nd Period: No goals
- 15:01 - Trevor Daley (3) Dallas 1 - New York 0
Assists: Mike Ribeiro, Brenden Morrow