Kari Lehtonen will get the start in goal Monday night in Columbus, but Richard Bachman said he is ready to go when the Dallas Stars need him.
Bachman rejoined the team Sunday morning in Frisco due to Cristopher Nilstorp being placed on injured reserve after suffering a groin injury in Saturday night’s game against St. Louis.
Bachman is fresh off a four-game stint with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, where he posted a 3-1-0 record, 2.46 goals against average and .916 save percentage.
“It was good for me to get some ice time and see some game action for the first time in months,” said Bachman, who played four games in an eight-day span. “Overall it was a good experience.”
Bachman, who won the backup job in Dallas in the middle of last season and signed a one-year, one-way contract worth $625,000 over the summer, didn’t play during the NHL lockout, and neither did Lehtonen. With Cristopher Nilstorp already having played basically half a season with the Texas Stars, Dallas decided not to take the chance on starting the season with two goaltenders with no game action under their belts. So, they sent Bachman to the AHL and let Nilstorp backup Lehtonen to start the season.
“Obviously you want to be up here the whole time, but I took the positives out of it,” Bachman said. “I got a chance to play four games and four in a row and in a week’s time. That’s something I haven’t done since I was down there or first called up here are year ago. That was extremely beneficial to kind of get in a rhythm, see a lot of pucks and see a lot of different situations that when you are backing up it would take a month to see all those. To get them all that quick, it was helpful.”
Bachman’s first game, which was at Peoria on January 19, had its ups and downs, but he and his Texas teammates came away with an 8-4 victory.
“There were good parts, bad parts and OK parts,” he said. “I think I had a couple of big saves when I needed to, then a couple of goals I know I should have had. It was nice to get eight goals of support from the guys in front of me, they helped. But it was just nice to get out there. In the first period they kind of came at us, you saw a lot of pucks right away and you jumped right into it. I didn’t have time to think about it. It was good.”
Over the next three games Bachman allowed just six goals, stopping 79 of 85 shots. With each game, there was an increase in the comfort level.
“You get more comfortable with traffic in front of the net and finding loose pucks in front of the net, seeing guys come with speed down the sides and stuff like that,” he said. “It takes a little bit of time to see and get comfortable with, and as you go you get more and more comfortable. I feel like I am in a good spot now.”
And with the Stars playing two sets of back-to-back games this week, Bachman said he believes he is ready if his named is called by the coaching staff.
“I am extremely confident that I am ready to play now and help the team win,” Bachman said. “Whenever that may be, I just want to help them.”