By Martin Iheke
You know the old saying that it is never over until the fat lady sings, well she has not sung yet for your Dallas Stars because they just had a five-game winning streak and are within striking distance of the last few spots for the playoffs. Who would have thought after the trade deadline when the Stars traded away Derek Roy, Jaromir Jagr and Tomas Vincour and losing at the Anaheim Ducks that this team would reel off five wins in a row including beating the San Jose Sharks twice in that span? Not me after watching how inconsistent this team had been playing leading up to the deadline. Let’s not forget they also traded away longtime team captain Brenden Morrow and Michael Ryder. General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk really turned over this roster to a younger and faster team. The philosophy for this group now is a simple, direct, north and south game which is something this group is thriving in.
Nobody has benefited from this more than rookie winger Alex Chiasson. This kid has been incredible since he was called up after the trade deadline. He has six goals having played in only six games in the NHL so far. At this rate he is going, he may very well be a Hall-of-Famer before he turns 25. After last Saturday’s, 2-1, win at home against the Sharks, Chiasson talked about how he is more concerned about the team continuing to win and less about his stats. “For myself, I just go day by day. I don’t look into the future or into the past,” Chiasson said. “I try not to pay attention to the stats. This is great for us. We’re right there in 8th place. The only thing that matters is the guys that believe in here,” as he continued. I like the way he carries himself as well. He is keeping everything simple on and off ice. It helps when you have veterans like Ray Whitney, Erik Cole, Vernon Fiddler and Eric Nystrom showing young guns like Chiasson the way to go in this league. These four guys have been terrific in this run for the Stars, especially Fiddler.
He is on a six-game point streak which is a career high for him with two goals and 10 assists in that streak according to dallasnews.com. There is one guy who has been an unsung hero for the Stars these last few games and that is backup goalie Richard Bachman. He has been nothing but spectacular since coming in for Kari Lehtonen, who suffered a lower-body injury, in the middle of the game against the Los Angeles Kings last Tuesday. He has stopped 79 of 82 shots he has faced since coming in and head coach Glen Gulutzan was especially impressed by his performance against the Sharks last Saturday. “I thought he made some solid saves especially on the first power play I think they had in the 2nd,” he said. “He cleaned a lot of the stuff in front of him. I thought our D did a good job of keeping guys away from him and our forwards did a good job of collapsing, but he was real solid for us,” as he continued. Bachman had not looked this good since last season when he replaced Andrew Raycroft as the backup and impressed with stellar performances that included a 1-0 win at the New York Rangers.
Despite this all, it would be good to get Lehtonen back for these final six games, starting Thursday night at home against the Vancouver Canucks, then the next night at the St. Louis Blues before finishing the week with road games at the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday and San Jose Sharks next Tuesday. If the Stars continue to keep this consistent performance up, they very well may be playing beyond the month of April.