LOS ANGELES – Richard Bachman will make his first NHL start Saturday night when the Dallas Stars play the Los Angeles Kings.
Bachman has made two appearances at the NHL level, including a relief appearance Thursday against San Jose, and stopped all 15 shots he’s faced in 30 minutes of action.
Andrew Raycroft has struggled with five goals allowed in each of his past two starts. The Stars are in the middle of a cross-country road trip, and it makes sense to give the nod to Bachman.
“We wanted to get him in on a game here on this trip,” Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. “We thought with a day’s rest, we’ll give him an honest look. We told him last night that he was going to go.”
Gulutzan coached Bachman with the team’s AHL affiliate Texas Stars, where Bachman was the No. 1 goaltender.
Listed at 5-foot-10, 172 pounds, Bachman is a basic standup goalie. Gulutzan doesn’t expect there to much adjustment with teammates.
“We’ve let him get comfortable with us, and guys know him,” Gulutzan said. “You look at some of the young guys around the league that have gotten an opportunity and done well. We know what we have in the American Hockey League, and this is kind of the natural progression for him.”
This will be the second straight game that the Kings have faced a goalie making his first NHL start. Minnesota’s Matt Hackett made 42 saves Thursday.
Bernier to start: Jonathan Bernier is expected to make his sixth start this season for L.A. Bernier took the loss in a Dec. 3 game against Montreal despite only two goals allowed.
Jonathan Quick is 2-0-1 with a 1.98 goals-against average in two meetings against the Stars this season but the Kings might want to rest him with a four-game road trip coming up after Saturday.
Lehtonen update: Kari Lehtonen started skating Saturday for the first time, Gulutzan said, and will likely return after Christmas at the earliest.
Lehtonen has been out since Nov. 26 with a groin injury. Adam Burish (hand) won’t be joining the team on the trip but will be “very close when he gets back,” Gulutzan said.
Mitchell returns: Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell is expected to return to the lineup from a groin injury.
Brad Richardson is expected to come back into the lineup after he was scratched the previous eight games.
Ethan Moreau, a former captain with the Edmonton Oilers, was waived Friday in order to make room for the other moves. Moreau cleared waivers Saturday.
Mike Richards is eligible to come off injured reserve but he only started skating Friday and there is no timetable for his return from a possible concussion, although the team isn’t using that terminology.
L.A. is 0-3 since Richards suffered a head injury against Florida on Dec.3.
Nicholls honored: Former King Bernie Nicholls will be honored in a ceremony before the game.
The Kings will wear their throwback purple-and-gold uniforms. Nicholls scored a franchise-record 70 goals playing with Wayne Gretzky in 1988-89.
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Tomas Vincour
Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Alex Goligoski - Philip Larsen
Dustin Penner - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Simon Gagne - Andrei Loktionov - Justin Williams
Brad Richardson - Jarret Stoll - Trent Hunter
Kyle Clifford-Colin Fraser-Kevin Westgarth
Drew Doughty-Rob Scuderi
Jack Johnson-Slava Voynov
Willie Mitchell-Matt Greene