LOS ANGELES, Calif. – When Richard Bachman got the word from Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan that he was going to make his first NHL start, he was more than ready.
Bachman made 26 saves, defenceman Trevor Daley scored the go-ahead goal and Jamie Benn connected on a power play, leading the Stars to a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles on Saturday night that sent the low-scoring Kings their fourth straight loss.
It was the second game in a row that Los Angeles has lost at home to a goalie making his first NHL start. On Thursday night, Minnesota’s Matt Hackett stopped 42 shots in a 4-2 victory.
“It was exciting and fun. You always dream about getting that first win,” Bachman said. “When the final buzzer went off, you can give a little sigh of relief—especially in a tight game like that. It was a dream come true tonight. I’ll talk to my finance and my parents, but I’ll probably just lay low tonight and make some phone calls tomorrow.”
Bachman stopped all 15 shots he faced in two previous relief appearances—one last season and the other on Thursday night at San Jose, when the 24-year-old Salt Lake City native replaced an ineffective Andrew Raycroft after two periods in Dallas’ 5-2 loss and made 11 saves. Raycroft started the previous four games, and has given up 10 goals in his last two with Kari Lehtonen (13-4-1, 2.34 GAA) sidelined by a groin strain.
“He’s a competitive guy, and he’s pretty clean when it comes to rebounds,” said Gulutzan, who coached the former Colorado College goalie in the minors last season. “I just told him when he went out there, ‘It’s the same game that you’ve been playing.’ He has that ability, and he’s going through the natural progression. He deserves another start, and most likely we’ll give him that opportunity and see if he can run with it.”
Dallas was 1 for 7 on the power play, equalling its season high in power-play chances. It was only the third time in 14 games that the Stars had more than three opportunities.
“We took a lot of penalties tonight, and that’s almost a full period on the PK,” captain Dustin Brown said. “Not only that, but some of our top offensive-end guys are PK guys, too. So it’s really a double-whammy.”
Brad Richardson ended a 34-game goal drought with a short-handed tally for Los Angeles, and Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves in his sixth start of the season.
The Kings are averaging a league-worst 2.2 goals and have scored no more than two in any of their last eight games, their longest such streak since a nine-game stretch late in the 2005-06 season.
“I like to think—and I truly believe—that the answer is in here,” defenceman Rob Scuderi said. “I’m very, very optimistic that we are going to come out of this. I know it has been a tough stretch, and no one is denying that. But as far as if they think a shake-up is necessary, that is out of our hands.”
Los Angeles was 0 for 3 on the power play, and is 3 for 34 over its last 10 games.
“We’re losing games because of the lack of scoring, It’s very tough,” said coach Terry Murray, still looking for that elusive 500th win. “We’re looking at one-goal games every night. The power play let us down. We’re just not getting anything generated on it. We had to get a short-handed goal to get us going, but we have to find a way to finish on those golden opportunities.”
Daley put Dallas ahead 2-1 with 3:16 left in the second period when his 20-foot wrist shot ricocheted off the left post and hit the back of Bernier’s left skate before trickling into the net.
The Stars opened the scoring with 6:25 to go in the first against a penalty-killing unit that had allowed just one goal in its previous 35 short-handed situations.
Michael Ryder carried the puck through the right circle between Dustin Brown and Jack Johnson before his pass deflected off the back of Benn’s right skate and past Bernier’s stick while Justin Williams was off for high-sticking Vernon Fiddler. The goal was reviewed by video judges in Toronto, confirming that Benn did not intentionally kick it in.
“It’s a lucky goal, but one I’ll take. It’s one we needed,” Benn said. “Michael drove the net, and I had my stick on the ice. I kind of jammed on the brakes there and my foot was aiming toward the net. It hit my foot and went in. I wasn’t that confidant that it would stand up, actually.”
Bachman stopped the first 15 shots he faced before Anze Kopitar tied it at 13:58 of the second with the clubs skating 4-on-3. Kopitar stripped Ryder of the puck at the Kings’ blue line and took off on a 2-on-1 rush with Richardson, who stuffed the puck between Bachman’s pads as the goalie dropped to his knees. It was the first goal since last Feb. 28 for Richardson, who was a healthy scratch in seven of the Kings’ previous eight games.
It also was the first short-handed goal scored against Dallas this season, leaving the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins as the only team that hasn’t allowed one. Last season the Stars gave up 15 short-handed goals, the second-most in the league.
Notes: Kings D Willie Mitchell returned to the lineup after missing three games with a lower-body injury and got into a fight with Steve Ott during his sixth shift of the game. … The Kings assigned LW Ethan Moreau to Manchester of the AHL after he cleared waivers Saturday morning. … Dallas LW Loui Eriksson has only one goal in his last 12 games. It came against the Kings in a 3-2 overtime win Nov. 23 at Dallas, when he tied the score with 20.3 seconds left in regulation. … The Kings begin a four-game trip Tuesday against the Bruins, whom they’re beaten five straight times. … After opening this five-game trip in San Jose and Los Angeles, the Stars will play their next three games against the Rangers, Islanders and New Jersey Devils. … The Stars are 15-1-0 when allowing fewer than three goals—the only loss coming when the Kings’ Jonathan Quick beat them 1-0 on Oct. 22 at Los Angeles. Dallas is 1-10-1 when allowing more than two, including a 5-3 home loss to the Kings on Oct. 27.