Lehtonen Practices, but Doubtful for Weekend

Friday, 10.18.2013 / 2:34 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Lehtonen Practices, but Doubtful for Weekend

Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who has missed the last three games with a lower body injury, went through a full practice in Frisco Friday morning. Lehtonen said he is making a lot of progress, but he is still not ready to play.

“It was a huge leap forward,” Lehtonen said. “It was good to get shots that I didn’t know where they were going. The only thing is I am not very fast right now. I can’t make the fast stretches, can’t make the fast stretches and fast pushes. That’s something that hopefully comes the next couple days.”

Lehtonen was injured a week ago in the Stars 4-1 victory at Winnipeg while stretching for a shot. He’s eligible to come off injured reserve in time for this weekend’s games at Los Angeles (Saturday) and at Anaheim (Sunday), but it seems unlikely he’ll be ready.

“Tomorrow comes a little too fast because I wasn’t able to be myself on the ice today. It was a good step forward, but not there yet,” Lehtonen said. “Hopefully tomorrow we can get better again and then we can see. We don’t have to decide anything right now.”

Stars coach Lindy Ruff saw Lehtonen’s practice session on Friday as a positive, but indicated the Stars’ No. 1 goaltender might not be ready to play this weekend.

“I think any time he’s out there practicing it’s a good sign,” Ruff said. “I didn’t expect him coming in and practicing today, but he’s feeling pretty good. In my eyes, if we can get by the weekend, he should be ready to play.”

That means the next opportunity for Lehtonen to return would be when the Stars return home and play Calgary on Thursday.

And that would mean that Dan Ellis likely will make his fourth straight start when the Stars take on the Kings Saturday night. With the Stars playing Sunday at 5 p.m. Pacific Time against the Ducks, there’s the possibility the Stars could need Jack Campbell to take a turn in net and make his NHL debut on the second night of a back-to-back.

“There’s a possibility with that quick turnaround we may look to Jack,” Ruff said.

Quotable

“It seems like there are no more easy games in this league any more. There are no nights off. When I first started there were three or four teams where there was a lot of separation. Now, there is so much parity that there is just not an easy game. Now with the systems everyone plays, there is a lot of backchecking, everyone works hard. With Los Angeles and Anaheim, you got two bigger and physical teams and it’s going to be a good test for us again.”

-Stars forward Shawn Horcoff on this weekend’s back-to-back road games in California

Stars practice lineup

Here’s the lineup the Stars rolled out in practice today. Forward Erik Cole was not on the ice. He had a maintenance day.

Forwards:

Jamie Benn -Tyler Seguin - Rich Peverley
Ray Whitney
- Cody Eakin - Alex Chiasson
Antoine Roussel
- Shawn Horcoff - Valeri Nichushkin
Lane MacDermid
- Vernon Fiddler - Ryan Garbutt

Defense:

Alex Goligoski - Sergei Gonchar
Brenden Dillon
- Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley
- Jordie Benn
Kevin Connauton

Goaltenders:

Dan Ellis
Jack Campbell
Kari Lehtonen
(injured)

SCHEDULE

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PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 53 28 31 15 59
T. Seguin 53 28 28 10 56
J. Klingberg 53 8 35 14 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 53 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 53 10 13 1 23
A. Goligoski 53 3 20 17 23
M. Janmark 53 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 51 8 10 5 18
V. Nichushkin 50 6 12 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .907 2.82
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