What Happened: The first period began with five minutes of play that saw zero shots on goal and just six shots halfway through the frame. The Stars managed to get a power play from a very questionable call when Richard Bachman left his crease to attack the puck and ran into the Rangers’ Carl Hagelin, who was called for charging despite doing everything he could to avoid contact. Unfortunately the Stars managed a grand total of zero shots on goal during the power play. The Rangers got their own power play with three minutes left in the period, but the Stars killed it convincingly, ending a solid first period with a tie score of 0-0. The second period opened with a torrid pace, with the first four minutes seeing six shots, a fight between Jake Dowell and Brandon Prust, and the Stars going on the kill for the second time. The Stars once again turned away the best power play in the NHL, despite the Rangers throwing puck after puck at the net. The second period slowly but surely turned into a goaltending duel between Bachman and Henrik Lundqvist, with the two goalies allowing no goals throughout the first two periods and making spectacular saves along the way. The Stars had another power play opportunity with three minutes remaining in the middle frame, and much like the Rangers earlier in the period, threw puck after puck at the net, but they weren’t able to punch it in, preserving the 0-0 tie through the first 40 minutes. Both goalies continued to perform admirably through the first half of the third period, and the Rangers went on the power play again with 11 minutes remaining, but the Dallas penalty kill remained perfect, even getting a shorthanded break away from Eric Nystrom, but he was unable to convert. Finally, with five minutes to go in the period, Trevor Daley took a pass in the slot and put the puck through Lundqvist, to give the Stars a 1-0 lead. He followed that goal with a penalty, unfortunately, giving the Rangers their fourth power play, but the penalty kill again performed heroically, preserving the lead. The Rangers pulled the goalie with a minute left, but the Stars and Bachman held on, giving them the 1-0 win.
What It Means: Richard Bachman. He’s excelled at every level, and he’s only getting better. Following your first NHL win with your first NHL shutout isn’t too bad, and he is the reason this team won. It’s just incredible to see a rookie have that much composure, that much poise in an arena like Madison Square Garden, in a city like New York, against one of the league’s best teams. I should talk about how the power play was still horrid, but this is Bachman’s night. The goaltender stood on his head when it counted most, and for that matter, so did the penalty kill, shutting down one of the league’s best power plays four times, including near the end of the game when desperation was in the air. Whether or not he continues this level of play remains to be seen, but there’s no doubting that he’s setting himself up as the future back up of this franchise behind Kari Lehtonen, and who knows what can happen even farther in the future. The Stars have held their opponent scoreless exactly one time this season, and it was tonight, and it was from a rookie goalie. Performances like his are hard to come by, but it looks like this Bachman fella’ is something special. He’s earned himself a few more starts before Lehtonen’s return, so look at the schedule, tune into the game, because Richard Bachman is going to put on a show.
What’s Next: The Stars continue their swing through New York when they meet the Islanders on Thursday night. The last time these two teams met, it was an absurd fiasco that saw Matt Moulson score four goals, giving the Islanders a 5-4 win. Mark Fistric also returns from suspension Thursday, against the same the Stars played when he laid the illegal hit on the Islanders’ Nino Niederreiter, but the stellar play of Philip Larsen will make the decision to play him a tough one. Tune in, invite some friends, watch the Stars exact revenge on the Islanders.