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Lehtonen in Goal, Nemeth to Make NHL Debut Against Capitals

Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 2:22 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Lehtonen in Goal, Nemeth to Make NHL Debut Against Capitals
The Dallas Stars take on the Washington Capitals tonight and both teams sit one point out of a playoff spot in their respective conferences.

The Dallas Stars take on the Washington Capitals tonight and both teams sit one point out of a playoff spot in their respective conferences.

The Stars are one point behind Phoenix with one game in hand in the Western Conference. The Capitals are one point behind Columbus in the East, but have played one more game than the Blue Jackets.

Tonight’s game kicks off a key stretch of four road games in six days against Eastern Conference teams, and the focus right now is on the Capitals, especially their top-ranked power play. Staying out of the penalty box will be key.

“We know that the power play is 40 percent of their goals and we know discipline is going to be a big issue,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “When we’re killing penalties tonight we’ve got to make sure we kill them.”

Kari Lehtonen will get the start in goal tonight. It will be his sixth straight. As expected, defenseman Patrik Nemeth, called up from the Texas Stars yesterday due to an injury to Aaron Rome, will make his NHL debut tonight.

“I’ve been looking forward to this a long time,” Nemeth said. “It should be fun.”

The 22-year-old Nemeth, listed at 6-3, 235 pounds, is considered a solid defensive defenseman.

“He’s played a solid game down in Austin, he’s done a real nice job defending. He’s played a lot of minutes,” said Ruff. “We’re hoping he can step in and be that same guy here. It’s going to be his first game, but we’re going to give him this opportunity and see what he can do for us.”

Kevin Connauton will be the healthy scratch on defense for the sixth time in the last seven games.

“I’ve talked to Kevin. It is frustrating [for him],” said Ruff. “I think that Kevin has come a ways this year and he still has a ways to go. His strength is more on the offensive side of it, where Nemeth is more on the defensive side and we’re turning a little more in that direction. I asked Kevin to not get frustrated, to keep on working.”

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for Washington. Forward Dustin Penner skated this morning, but left the ice early due to illness. The Capitals have called up Flower Mound native Chris Brown from the AHL in case Penner can’t go tonight.

Tuesday’s game

Who: Dallas Stars at Washington Capitals
Where: Verizon Center
When: 6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff
Vernon FiddlerColton Sceviour
Ray WhitneyDustin JeffreyAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Patrik NemethSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen
Tim Thomas

Capitals projected lineup

Mikhail Grabovski - Jay Beagle - Alexander Ovechkin
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Eric Fehr - Joel Ward
Dustin Penner - Evgeny Kuznetsov -Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Mike Green
Jack Hillen – Julien Brouillette

Jaroslav Halak
Braden Holtby

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 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 64 40 17 7 189 177 87
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 62 36 23 3 180 167 75
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
9 LAK 62 29 21 12 166 162 70
10 SJS 63 30 25 8 175 181 68
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 63 27 26 10 196 210 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 63 23 37 -3 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 63 15 37 -5 52
E. Cole 57 18 15 4 33
T. Daley 60 16 17 -10 33
J. Klingberg 49 10 23 1 33
C. Eakin 60 14 14 -2 28
A. Hemsky 57 9 17 -9 26
A. Goligoski 63 2 24 1 26
A. Roussel 61 12 11 -11 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 10 .905 2.97
J. Enroth 13 25 2 .900 3.30
 
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