Stargazing: Lehtonen Backstops Stars to 4-0 Start

And that, my friends, is territory not chartered by the Stars since 1996-97, when they started 6-0 in Ken Hitchcock's first full season as head coach.

Back then, the Stars were coming off their first season of non-playoff hockey since moving to Dallas, going 26-42-14 in 1995-96. It was also Tom Hicks first full season of ownership, and he actually, get this, spent money in free agency back then, landing Pat Verbeek, Bob Bassen, and Arturs Irbe in free agency.

That 6-0 start was just as surprising as this 4-0 start. And just like the additions in the summer of 1996 helped fuel that start, additions by Joe Niewendyk in 2010 have played a pivotal role in this season's 4-0 start.

Primarily, Kari Lehtonen, who wasn't brought in as a free agent, but might as well have been considering he replaced Marty Turco, who the Stars bid adieu in free agency this past offseason.

Bob Sturm noted last week during BaD Radio that many within the Stars organization have a higher regard for Lehtonen than they ever did for Turco. That's not to say they didn't regard Turco as a premier goaltender.

It's just that they didn't think Turco had the knack to pull out wins when he was barraged by 40+ shots in any given game, ala Ed Belfour. Lehtonen, they say, has that knack.

And last night, he proved them right by shutting out the St. Louis Blues over the final 51:12 after spotting them a 2-0 lead in the first 3:48. Overall, Lehtonen made 41 stops on 43 shots and allowed his teammates plenty of time to get back in the game before winning in the shootout with goals from all three shooters.

And oh yeah, the Rangers evened up their series with the Yankees, the Longhorns went up to Lincoln and beat the Huskers, the Sooners shut out the Cyclones, and the Aggies...well, they lost to Mizzou.

But that's alright since Pat's currently attending school up there.

And the Stampeders are playing Saskatchewan today. That one's for you, Art.

Dallas_stars_news_and_notes_medium

  • Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post Dispatch feels last night's game was just like the title from one of the Rolling Stones' all time hits. Except the Blues never got what they needed.
  • Last week, the Stars and Islanders played to a crowd of around 13,000. That low attendance figure was blamed on the fact that Game 3 of the Yankees-Twins ALDS series was being played about 19 miles away in the Bronx.

    Last night, the Stars bumped the start of the game back 30 minutes due to the fact Game 2 of the ALCS between the Rangers and Yankees was being played about 15 miles to the west in Arlington. Yet, announced attendance for last night's Stars game was 11,750.
  • We already know how resilient the Texas Rangers are after bouncing back from a 6-5 loss in Game 1 of the ALCS by beating the Yankees, 7-2, to even the ALCS at a game apiece. But Mike Heika say the Rangers aren't the only resilient team in the Metroplex.

    Within a nine day span, the Stars have twice come back from two goal first period deficits to win games in this young season.
  • Like a lot of you, Razor's not happy with Dish Network right now. If you join him in his quest to drop Dish, you can get two free tickets to an upcoming Stars game. Supplies are limited and limits are supplied.
A couple of quotes about last night's game after the jump...
All Quotes from DallasStars.com:

Kari Lehtonen on his play thus far this season...
"I would say in the first game of the year I wasn't sharp, but the team was sharp It is great to see how when one part is not doing well, the other part picks up. We were in a little bit of trouble and I was able to make good saves. The next night it could be another way. That's the sign of a good team."
St. Louis Blues defenseman Eric Brewer, who liked his team's fast start, but bemoaned inability to score after that...
"We had a good start but they made the most of their opportunities. We didn't find the net enough. It was a physical game, but we couldn't find a way to score big goals."

And finally, Marc Crawford on how Lehtonen's play inspired the team to come out of the early doldrums...
"He was terrific. He gave us an opportunity to win and he was superb all night long. Your goaltender builds such a foundation for your team. Tonight was a case where we did not have much going other than (Lehtonen). The belief that was built by him tonight was infectious."

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