Lehtonen Expected in Goal Tonight as Stars Look to Get Back on Track

Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 12:42 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Lehtonen Expected in Goal Tonight as Stars Look to Get Back on Track

The Dallas Stars will look to get back on track and climb back into a playoff position when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.

The Stars, who have lost back-to-back games for the first time since late January, enter tonight’s game in ninth place in the Western Conference. They are two points behind Phoenix, which moved into the eighth and final playoff spot with a 4-3 win at Los Angeles last night. The Stars have two games in hand and the Stars can move back into a playoff spot with a win over the Penguins.

“We’ve been at the point of urgency for a long-time,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “It hasn’t just been these last two games. The overtime loss (vs. Calgary) when we had a 3-1 lead was a tough loss, and Winnipeg (7-2 loss) we just made two handfuls of big mistakes that cost us. But we know where we are at; we are in the thick of a heck of a playoff race. We know we are going to have to play good teams and beat good teams to get points.”

Ruff doesn’t reveal his starting goaltender to the media, but Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in goal tonight after missing the last four games with a concussion. Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice at this morning’s skate in Pittsburgh.

Jeff Zatkoff will start in goal for Pittsburgh, which has lost its last two games. Zatkoff is 10-4-1 with a 2.63 goals against average and .914 save percentage this season.

Forwards James Neal (concussion) and Chris Kunitz (lower body) are game-time decisions for the Penguins. Both need to be cleared by doctors to play tonight.

Tuesday’s game

Who: Dallas Stars at Pittsburgh Penguins
Where: CONSOL Energy Center
When: 6:00 p.m.
TV: TXA-21
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Erik ColeCody EakinColton Sceviour
Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt
Ray WhitneyChris MuellerAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Kevin ConnautonSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen
Tim Thomas

Penguins projected lineup

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Lee Stempniak
Jussi Jokinen – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Taylor Pyatt – Brandon Sutter – Craig Adams
Tanner Glass – Marcel Goc – Brian Gibbons

Olli Maatta – Brooks Orpik
Rob Scuderi – Matt Niskanen
Robert Bortuzzo – Simon Despres

Jeff Zatkoff
Marc-Andre Fleury

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 10 5 9 6 14
J. Spezza 10 4 7 2 11
C. Eakin 10 1 7 2 8
P. Sharp 10 4 2 1 6
R. Faksa 10 3 2 2 5
A. Goligoski 10 3 2 -5 5
P. Eaves 7 2 3 3 5
J. Klingberg 10 1 3 -3 4
A. Hemsky 10 1 3 -1 4
M. Janmark 9 1 3 -1 4
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 5 1 0 .906 2.58
A. Niemi 1 3 2 .872 3.33
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