Richard Bachman, who started his pro career in the Dallas Stars organization, may have dealt his former team a major blow to its playoff hopes on Friday.
Now with the Edmonton Oilers, Bachman stopped all 29 shots he faced, and the Oilers shut out the Stars 4-0 in a costly loss for Dallas, which had been red-hot coming into this game.
The Stars are now down to seven games remaining in their schedule. They had won four straight prior to Friday and were trying feverishly to get into the race, even at the last minute. Now they’re eight points back of the Winnipeg Jets for the final Wild Card spot in the West.
They gave up a goal to Jordan Eberle and the Oilers 33 seconds into the game. The Stars continued to put the pressure on Bachman but couldn’t score.
That came back to haunt the Stars.
The Oilers broke the game wide open with three goals in the final 11 minutes of regulation time. Andrew Miller, 26 years old and playing in his fifth career NHL game, scored his first ever NHL goal on a penalty shot to cap the win for Edmonton.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers, two teams outside the playoff picture, apparently weren’t too caught up on defensive details Saturday.
The Flyers, with Ray Emery in net for a surprise start, jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, only to cough it up. The Oilers allowed three straight goals after grabbing an early lead. It was back-and-forth with plenty of chances.
And both teams were able to capitalize off odd-man rushes, taking advantage of the opposing team’s mistakes.
First, Jordan Eberle’s goal, his 20th of the season, which gave Edmonton a 4-3 lead early in the second period. Nice pass from Benoit Pouliot, and even better finish.
Now, here’s a look at a sweet passing play from unlikely candidates Ryan White and Zac Rinaldo. White finishes the playoff, giving Philadelphia a 3-1 lead late in the first period.
Taylor Hall has seen another season marred by injury issues, but we may see him play again before 2015-16.
Hall told the Edmonton Journal that he’s hoping to play in the upcoming world hockey championships and may even return for the Edmonton Oilers before this season is over.
“Going to the world championship would be good for me because I haven’t played much hockey this year and I haven’t played too much good hockey as well,” Hall said on Monday. “If I get invited (to wear the maple leaf), I’ll accept and hopefully we win a gold.”
The Edmonton Journal pointed out that he’d likely be joined by teammates Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, which would be an added bonus to playing in the summer.
Playing in that tournament makes sense, but it’s hard not to at least make the devil’s advocate argument regarding suiting up for the Oilers again. Considering where Edmonton ranks in the standings, some might wonder why Hall would risk aggravating his “bone injury” … again. Hall himself has admitted that he’s rushed back from injuries before, after all.
Even his comments regarding skating again raise a red flag for worriers in the audience.
“I practiced hard today, maybe too hard,” Hall said. “I’ll probably have to get my conditioning back before I can play.”
Taking a cautious approach would probably be wise, but for a player who’s never played a full season and missed at least 20 games three times at age 23, it’s understandable that Hall is also a little anxious to shake off some rust.