Dallas Stars Week in Review: Kari Lehtonen Injury Could Be Problem


The Dallas Stars are playing some good hockey as of late.  They’ve won six of nine and won against every team they played this week not named the Calgary Flames. The dreaded Canada road trip went very well with the Stars winning two of three.  The offense is starting to click as well. In the past seven games, the Dallas Stars haven’t scored fewer than three goals. And they are getting timely and clutch goals when they matter too.

Against Edmonton Tuesday night, the Dallas Stars and Oilers were tied 1-1 entering the third period when the Stars erupted, scoring three goals in the final period to knock off the Oilers 4-1. The Stars were recipients of a couple of lucky bounces that got them the lead. Their first goal came after the puck hit the glass behind the net and then off Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk into the net.  The go-ahead goal by Eric Nystrom went off an Oiler player’s hand and then hit Dubnyk in the mask before going in.  A couple more goals for insurance purposes, and the Dallas Stars began their Canadian road trip on a good note.

Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The next night in Calgary wasn’t so good for the Dallas Stars. The Flames managed to score seven goals in their 7-4 win over the Stars. The game was all but over after the first period; the Flames scored four times before the buzzer sounded on the first twenty minutes. It was a rough night in net for Stars goalie Richard Bachman, allowing six goals in twenty-two shots (the Flames other goal was an empty-netter). The Dallas Stars scored two power play goals, but the penalty killing unit didn’t live up to their end of the bargain: they gave up two goals on their only two chances. That’s not a winning formula. The Dallas Stars defense also gave up a hat trick to Flames left wing Michael Cammalleri.

It would be easy to expect that the bad game and loss to Calgary would carry over for the Dallas Stars into Friday night’s game against Vancouver.  In the word’s of ESPN’s Lee Corso, “not so fast my friend!”  The Dallas Stars offense once again came through in the clutch with some key third period goals. The second period wasn’t too kind to Bachman in net; he allowed three goals that gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead. That’s when the Dallas Stars went to work.  They scored a goal to cut the lead to 3-2 going into the second intermission. That’s the way the score would stay through over half of the third period until Antoine Roussel scored his second goal of the season to tie the game 3-3. With just over four minutes remaining Brenden Dillon, a Vancouver area native, took a cross ice pass and Jamie Benn and put it in the back of the net to complete the comeback win for the Stars 4-3.  Vancouver is a really good team, so for the Stars to go into that arena and comeback from a 3-1 deficit shows a lot of grit and poise; it is also one of the reasons the Dallas Stars brought in wily veterans like Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitneyin the off-season.

Feb 17, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Philip Larsen (36) checks Calgary Flames center Roman Horak (51) into the boards during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Flames defeated the Stars 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday night though, the Dallas Stars fell once again to the Calgary Flames 4-3 at the American Airlines Center.  The Stars, who had been so good at scoring goals and winning the third period lost this one, giving up three goals and surrendering a 3-1 lead.  They scored three second period goals and yet still found a way to lose the game. Not surprisingly, it was Bachman who was once again in net for the Dallas Stars. It’s been a tough week for the young net minder. The Dallas Stars defense probably doesn’t want to see the Flames’ Cammalleri anymore as he scored yet another goal.  All four of his goals this season have come against the Stars.

The Dallas Stars record now stands at 8-7-1, which is good enough for 17 points and seventh place in the Western Conference standings. Many of the recent losses for the Dallas Stars illustrate just how important goalie Kari Lehtonen is to this team. Bachman has been decent, but he has really struggled at times in net, as Dallas Stars fans have seen this past week.  Lehtonen is back on injured reserve with a groin injury he suffered in Friday’s game against Vancouver, but he should be back in a week. The good news is that the Stars have been putting the puck in the back of the net on a consistent basis. They just need to prevent the puck from going in the net more and they’ll be just fine. Even though it has been rough at times, this is definitely a valuable learning experience for the 25-year old Bachman.

Feb 17, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon (4) and left wing Eric Nystrom (24) and center Ryan Garbutt (40) celebrate the goal against the Calgary Flames during the second period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars now get a few days off before their next game which will be Thursday night. That gives them plenty of time to rest up and prepare for the tough slate of games on this week’s schedule.  All three teams the Stars face are in the playoffs right now, so the Dallas Stars will have to play their best hockey to win games.

  • Thursday, February 21: VS Vancouver 8:30 PM ET/7:30 CT
  • Saturday, February 23: VS San Jose 8:00 PM ET/7 CT
  • Monday, February 25: @ Nashville 8:00 PM ET/7 CT

It seems like every week has a test for the Dallas Stars in this shortened season, and this week is no different.  If the Stars want to gauge just how far they’ve come,how they fare this week against playoff teams will certainly be a good barometer.  It’s all just written in the stars.