HOCKEY TEXAS STARS Nilstorp now looks the part
Chipped front tooth is another notch in rookie goaltender’s adjustment to North American hockey.
By Steve Habel CEDAR PARK — Cristopher Nilstorp, barely two months into his rookie year in the American Hockey League, is still learning the ins and outs of North American-style hockey. But after he took a puck to the face mask in prac- tice last week, at least the Texas Stars’ goaltender looks as if he belongs.
“I think it makes me look tougher,” said a smiling Nilstorp, part of his left front tooth missing. “Now I am just like all the rest of the guys.”
The learning curve for Nilstorp, who is from Sweden, has been steep since he signed a one-year, two-way contract with Dallas in June, allowing him to play for the AHL’s Texas Stars while the NHL continues to work on its labor
But Nilstorp has shown that he’s a quick study, going 9-7 with two shutouts in the Stars’ first 25 games. He’s stopping more than nine of every 10 shots he’s facing. He’s helped the Stars go 13-8-22 through the first third of the season, good enough for a third-place tie in the league’s tough South Division.
His 2.18 goals-against average ranks seventh in the league. During one three-game stretch, Nilstorp had a shutout streak of 1 hour, 54 minutes, 56 seconds of game time, just eight minutes short of Brent Krahn’s franchise record, set two seasons ago.
“He has been real good for us, and we knew all along that he was going to be solid in the net,” Stars coach Willie Desjardins said. “I like that he wants to compete. He doesn’t need everything to be perfect, and he’s not afraid to take the challenges head-on. Our guys have a lot of confidence with Nilstorp in the net.”
Nilstorp, 28, is an AHL rookie but is in his eighth year of professional hockey. He posted a .923 save percentage, a 2.04 goals-against average and
Cristopher Nilstrop signed a 1year deal with Dallas in June.