When it was learned Dallas lost Kari Lehtonen’s services until after Christmas, most figured the Stars were toast.
Then along came Richard Bachman.
Tonight in New Jersey, the unheralded 24-year-old rookie will make his fourth consecutive start, looking to improve upon his eye-popping numbers: 3-0-0 record, 0.90 GAA and .970 save percentage.
Not bad from a guy that was playing for Colorado College two years ago.
Bachman’s story is even more impressive when you consider the Stars’ circumstances. They were already flirting with implosion when Lehtonen got hurt (having lost seven of nine) and seemed in deep trouble when Lehtonen’s backup, Andrew Raycroft, gave up 10 goals in back-to-back losses to the Islanders and Sharks.
But that’s when head coach Glen Gulutzan handed the reins to Bachman.
“He’s a steady guy and he’s a good rebound control goalie,” Gulutzan said. “He’s not the biggest goalie you’re going to see in the NHL, but very clean and very composed in his and he’s given us a couple good games here.”
Thanks to Bachman, the Stars have managed to hold onto the Pacific Division lead and find themselves sitting third in the Western Conference heading into tonight’s game. While it might be asking a lot of Bachman to start his fourth straight in New Jersey (the second of back-to-back games), Gulutzan feels his goalie is up to the challenge.
“I’ve seen him play three in three nights (in the AHL) and play well in all three,” he told ESPN Dallas. “I have no problem playing him back-to-back. I think our team has to play well in front of him, which we are more than capable of doing.”