Unless Kari Lehtonen loaded up on cough syrup before both Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference first round series against the Los Angeles Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, he is being out-played by a rookie.
Of all the times the Stars need a goalie walking out of a Dallas jail wearing a light blue FUBU sweatshirt, now would be nice. The Stars trail the best-of-seven series with Los Ducks 2-0, and return to the Monopoly Airlines Center on Monday to prevent this celebrated return to the postseason from being a total dud.
The only way this changes is if Lehtonen begins to out-play Frederik Andersen, and does his best Ed Belfour impression.
Lehtonen: 0-2, 7 goals allowed, 54 shots, .870 sv %, 3.56 gaa
Andersen: 2-0, 5 goals allowed, 71 shots, .930 sv %, 2.50 gaa
In any 8 v. 1 matchup - such as the Dallas Stars versus the Ducks - the only way the 8 will win the series is if the goalie steals a game, or two, or three. One of the areas the Stars were thought to have an advantage was goalie. That is not the way this has played out through two games. Lehtonen has to be better.
Andersen had previously played a total of 28 NHL games before this series. Unless your last name is Roy, rookie goalies are supposed to poop their pants in the playoffs.
Lehtonen is 30, a veteran of 9 NHL seasons, the second overall pick of the '02 NHL draft, an Olympian, etc. But we seemed to either ignore, or excuse, the fact he has barely played in the playoffs, and when he did he did not make a huge difference.
Between Lehtonen's one playoff series with the Thrashers in '07 and this current series with the Stars, he is now 0-4 with a .858 save percentage and a 4.58 goals against average.
In fairness to Lehtonen, he is not getting enough help from his defensemen. But, in any 8 v 1, at some point in order to win this matchup Lehtonen is going to have to steal a game or two, or three.
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