With the #8 seed on the line tonight, the Dallas Stars prepare to face off against the top team in the league.
And it would appear as though they will have to rely on backup netminder Richard Bachman in order to get the job done.
Per the venerable Mike Heika, Kari Lehtonen is still day-to-day with his lower body injury, and Bachman is scheduled to get the start. Cristopher Nilstorp will be the backup goalie. If this news had come out several weeks ago, it would have left many stars fans marking this one as a loss, but Bachman has played extremely well as of late.
In fact, he was announced as the NHL's third star of the week thanks to his outstanding play against the Kings, Predators, and Sharks. Here's what they had to say about his performances:
Bachman posted a 3-0-0 record with a 1.08 goals-against average and .963 save percentage to help the Stars continue their push for a playoff berth. He stopped all 22 shots he faced in relief of an injured Kari Lehtonen in Dallas' 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings April 9. Bachman then made back-to-back weekend starts, recording 26 saves in a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators April 12 and 31 saves in a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks April 13. The 25-year-old Salt Lake City, Utah, native has played in 11 games this season, going 6-3-0 with a 3.18 goals-against average and .884 save percentage.
You may or may not remember, but Bachman is actually 4-0 in his last four decisions. Thanks to a faulty lace on Kari's equipment, Bachman played for just a couple of minutes, facing zero shots, and was credited with the win. It's crazy to think that that moment was the beginning of the turnaround for him. Such is the life of hockey.
Per Mike Heika, here are the Forward lines that were skating this morning:
Whitney - Benn - Chiasson
Fraser - Eakin - Eriksson
Nystrom - Fiddler - Cole
Roussel - Wandell - Garbutt
And your Defenseman pairings:
The tenders of goal:
What do you think? Can the Stars manage a win against the Blackhawks? Or is the win only a secondary concern compared to their compete level tonight, after the 8-1 thumping they received last time?