Solid play earns Richard Bachman another opportunity

After winning his first NHL start, Dallas Stars goaltender Richard Bachman said he wasn’t focused on whether he was going to get another one. He just wanted to take a little time to enjoy the moment.

“I have no idea. That’s something we’ll worry about tomorrow,” Bachman said about the possibility of another start after Saturday night’s 2-1 victory in Los Angeles. “Tonight I am just going to enjoy the win.”

His head coach had already given some thoughts about another start for the 24-year-old goaltender, who stopped 26 of 27 shots against the Kings.

“I think he deserves another start,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Most likely against the Rangers (on Tuesday) we will give him that opportunity and see if he can run with it.”

Time will tell if he can run with it as the Stars wait for No. 1 goaltender Kari Lehtonen to return from a groin injury that will keep him out at least for another couple weeks. But from what he’s shown in his first few NHL appearances, especially his performance Saturday in Los Angeles, Bachman looks more than capable.

“He has that ability,” said Gulutzan. “He’s had the success to get drafted, and then have success in college, the [ECHL] and [AHL]. He’s going through the natural progression. He’s a good goalie.”

Sure, the Kings have scored only 13 goals in their last eight games and rank 30th in the league in offense and his teammates deserve some of the credit for playing solid defensively, but Bachman played a big role, too. He made some big saves, especially in the third period when the Stars were protecting a 2-1 lead. And his ability to control his rebounds benefited both him and his teammates.

"The biggest thing was rebounds, especially in the beginning,” Bachman said. “Having a couple shots early and being able to control them, that’s what I enjoyed the most. That kind of made it a little more simple back there.”

The NHL sample size is small, but there’s plenty to like about Bachman, who is listed at 5-10, 175 pounds and bucks the trend of a goaltender with size. He’s calm, for one.

“I just try to keep it as simple as possible,” Bachman said. “I have a routine that I’ve done for a couple of years now that I’ve really learned to rely on for game days, and I think it really helps you maintain an even keel and not get too high or too low. I took at as no different than any other game I’ve ever gotten ready for, obviously there were a little more jitters in there, but I tried to stay calm and it worked.”

Said teammate Jamie Benn: “He looked pretty calm back there for his first real start. He’s a hell of a goalie, he’s really calm, played a great game and got a big two points for us.”

While he passed a first big test in Los Angeles, there’s likely another big one ahead in New York Tuesday night against the Rangers, one of the top teams in the league right now. If he does get the call Tuesday, it will be another opportunity for Bachman to show that he is ready to take the next step in his career.