On the night of April 3 the Dallas Stars were thought by many to be done in the Western Conference playoff race. They had just traded away two top six forwards for prospects and draft picks and were sitting in 13th place, four points out of a playoff spot. Now, 11 days later, they are in eighth place in the West and riding a five-game winning streak after topping the San Jose Sharks, 2-1 at American Airlines Center Sunday night.
“At the trade deadline we had two choices,” said Stars goaltender Richard Bachman. “One was to just give in and go through the motions. Or we could prove people wrong.”
The Stars have been proving people wrong the past week-and-a-half, putting together an impressive run to climb up the standings and into the top eight in the West with seven games remaining in the season.
“I think we are starting to carve out an identity and figuring out why we are successful,” said Stars forward Eric Nystrom.” There’s a certain way we have to play, we are not a high-risk team. When we tried that earlier in the year we just got picked apart. Now we are playing a more straight line game. We’re getting pucks in, we’re getting bodies to the net and we’re paying the price. That’s what it takes to win. The best teams might have more skill, but they are still doing those little things that make the difference between winning and losing. We’re finding the way of what that takes.”
The Stars got another stellar performance from Bachman, who stopped 31 of 32 shots to win his third straight decision. Bachman had a couple of big saves in the second, stopping Joe Pavelski and then a Patrick Marleau rebound attempt with San Jose on the power play. In the third he stopped 12 of 13 shots as the Sharks stepped up the pressure trying to tie the game.
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