I'm not sure how a game in which the Stars score four power play goals can turn into a discussion about who is the better goalie, but that seems to be how this blog is going these days.
I will fully admit that Kari Lehtonen is playing very well right now and his ability to calmly make a big save at the right time is having a positive influence on the Stars. But I would warn against anyone getting too high and mighty over this debate. Goalies tend to have bad performances now and then, so giving the goalie too much credit tends to bite you when you have to start giving the goalie too much blame.
And this blog could use a lot less blaming, it seems.
Anyway, here's Lehtonen on how he feels about his game:
``I think I'm at my best when I'm playing large and using my frame, and I felt I did that tonight,'' he said. ``You want to be simple and let the puck hit you, and then make the saves you have to make.''
Lehtonen's glove save on Jack Johnson in the second period kept the Kings from getting momentum, and helped keep the Stars calm and in control.
``He looks comfortable in the net now,'' Crawford said. ``It takes a while to come back from an injury like he had, and I do think we're seeing what he can do when he gets a little more into his rhythm. He's a big guy and a drop-and-stop goaltender. He looks big in the net right now, that's for sure.''
As for the power play? What can you say? They found a way to win puck battles and get the puck to the net. One goal went in off a Kings defenseman's skate. One was a seeing-eye shot. The other two were great efforts in which the Stars really worked things well.
``We had a little more energy tonight than LA,'' Crawford said after giving his players Friday off to get some jump in their legs. ``We won a lot of races to the puck, all the 50/50 pucks. We did a great job of killing penalties. Everyone looked like they had a good jump. We were fortunate to get a few bounces, but when you work hard that pays off for you and the pucks end up in the back of the net. We were the first to the puck every time. It made a huge difference. These are tough games for everybody. We needed to gut it out and I was very happy with our performance tonight."
Captain Brenden Morrow added: "There have been games this year where we haven't executed. Tonight we got some breaks. It's a funny game that way. Sometimes you get those bounces. Sometimes you don't. We are on the outside looking in right now. We want to be the spoiler and win games. We always prepare to play for 60 minutes so we can win."
The Stars staved off mathematical elimination for another day, but they are nine points behind eighth-place Colorado with seven games to play. It's inevitable they will head to their second year without a post-season. But if this team can put together some nice games down the stretch, maybe they can build some belief for next year.
And if they can do it playing a simple game, all the better.
OK, go ahead and discuss the goalie issue now. It's a hot button topic.