Lehtonen in Goal, Nemeth to Make NHL Debut Against Capitals

Tuesday, 04.1.2014 / 1:22 PM CT / 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 x - ANA 78 49 22 7 227 216 105
2 x - NSH 78 47 22 9 224 193 103
3 STL 76 46 23 7 229 190 99
4 CHI 76 46 24 6 217 176 98
5 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
6 VAN 77 45 27 5 224 208 95
7 CGY 77 42 28 7 229 204 91
8 WPG 77 39 26 12 217 204 90
9 LAK 76 37 25 14 201 192 88
10 DAL 77 37 30 10 239 248 84
11 SJS 76 37 30 9 212 215 83
12 COL 76 35 29 12 206 213 82
13 EDM 76 23 40 13 185 255 59
14 ARI 77 23 46 8 161 256 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 77 28 46 -6 74
T. Seguin 67 35 35 -4 70
J. Spezza 77 17 42 -3 59
J. Klingberg 60 11 27 3 38
C. Eakin 73 17 19 -5 36
T. Daley 63 16 20 -10 36
A. Goligoski 77 4 31 -2 35
A. Hemsky 71 11 21 -5 32
S. Horcoff 73 11 17 7 28
V. Fiddler 75 12 15 -5 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 34 16 10 .906 2.88
J. Enroth 1 5 0 .877 3.16
 
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