Things didn’t start out well for the Dallas Stars two weeks ago as they tried to adjust to life without Kari Lehtonen. With Richard Bachman in net, the Stars dropped their next game to the Calgary Flames by a 7-4 score before sneaking out a 4-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks two days later. The Stars then dropped a pair of games (both by a one-goal margin) before righting the ship with a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. The Stars got two power play goals in the win over the Sharks and on Monday, they also got two power play goals in an overtime loss to the Nashville Predators.
With points in their last two games, they continue to survive without Lehtonen. Cristopher Nilstorp has started three straight games and has a 1-1-1 record in that stretch. In each of their past 10 games, the Stars have scored at least three goals and the strong power play performance in the past two games has been a huge boost. Jaromir Jagr and Michael Ryder scored with the man-advantage against the Sharks while Vernon Fiddler and Loui Eriksson scored power play goals in the loss to Nashville. Ryder and Jagr have each scored two power play goals this season and Jamie Benn has five power play points.
Any wins Dallas can get with Lehtonen out will put them in a much better position when he does return. If the power play streak is to continue, the Stars face a tough match-up tonight when they take on a Columbus Blue Jackets team that has the league’s ninth-best penalty kill–despite ranking near the bottom of the league in every other aspect of the game.