On the same night the Dallas Stars honored Mike Modano by retiring his jersey to the American Airlines Center rafters, starting goalie Kari Lehtonen suffered a head injury that has kept him out of the lineup. Newly acquired Tim Thomas has filled in nicely for the Stars, however two straight losses have fans ready for the return of Lehtonen.
Thomas got the win against the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues, but a shootout loss to the Calgary Flames and a 7-2 loss at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets have the Stars barely holding on to the final playoff spot. Head coach Lindy Ruff said he hopes Lehtonen will play this next week.
This is good news for a Stars team that had just started playing really good hockey before his injury. Thomas is a more than capable backup goalie. Having won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins, Thomas has shown he can battle during pressure situations.
There is a reason, though, that he is a backup goalie in Dallas and not a starting goaltender. Lehtonen is the No. 1 man in Dallas and will be until someone else comes along to knock him off that pedestal. So far, nobody has done that. Not even Thomas.
Dallas is hoping to make the playoffs and if they’re going to do that they’re going to do it riding Lehtonen, their main goalie. However far they make it in the playoffs will also depend on Kari and how far he takes them. People around Dallas are hoping it’s a long way.