Kari Lehtonen has been one of the top netminders in the NHL this year and the Dallas Stars' number one asset. Game in and game out he has stood on his head to give the Stars a chance to win, even when early on, the team was averaging around 40 shots allowed per game.
On Friday night versus Vancouver, the Stars had a scare when Kari went down with a groin injury mid way through the first period. Richard Bachman took over to lead the Stars to a mammoth 4-3 win. Despite the big win, many were wondering about the status of their star player. Mike Heika is reporting Kari is day-to-day with a groin injury and will be evaluated further in the next few days.
This news comes as a relief to many. However, the Stars do have quite a bit of depth at the goalie position with Bachman, who has proven himself as a reliable temporary replacement, Christopher Nihlstorp, who we have already seen compete at the NHL level, and Jack Campbell who is a top NHL goalie prospect for the club. Despite the amount of talent in the system, Kari has been the centerpiece of a young Dallas Stars team and it would be a tough road without him with the already struggling defensive core.
One last thought with the injury: look to the Stars to be very cautious moving forward. Kari has suffered quite a few groin injuries in the past including the most recent being last May's USA vs. Finland game at the World Championships. He cannot be over worked for an extended stretch of games. The defense needs to be tighter and I would not to be surprised to see Bachman filling in an extra game or two down the stretch.
In the meantime, we will keep you updated on Kari's situation.
Photo Credit: Rich Lam