9.75% of the season
4 game winning streak
3 losses out of 4 including 2 at home
Kari plays 488 minutes stopping 246 out of 268 shots(91.79%).Are the Stars the team that started out 4-0, flashing a red hot offense clawing and fighting to get points in every game. Yeah I believe they are, but are they also the team that realized there was still issues and worked hard at the PK but with a stuttering offense and occasionally human Kari Lehtonen only managed to grab 2 out of the next 8 available points. Yeah probably they are.
I think it was a good confidence building start to the season, and one that was probably needed so they players themselves can see what they can do. However I think that in the end this is not going to be a dramatically improved team over the course of an 82 game schedule. I believe we will see a team that can get hot behind a potent offense that will roll 3 lines that all have physicality, skill, and clutch scoring ability, and sometimes Kari will just flat out win games for them. But as the PP flounders and the defense struggles so will the overall season of this team.
Matt Niskanen is showing glimpses(however clearly the first step to success is to put away the razor) but is looking like a low end guy that cannot be hidden without a marquee guy in the lineup to shoulder 25+ minutes a night. Trevor Daley is a lost cause and I refuse to devote any more time than this sentence to talk about him. This is a budget defense with young guys who are learning without a big name, big money, minute eating guy. Until that changes this team will go through some struggles.
Kari Lehtonen.....great trade, amazing trade. I think it will probably go down with the Zubov and Nieuwendyk trades as one of the best in franchise history. This kid can flat out play, and appears to have a good attitude and work ethic in his fresh start. However I think Marc Crawford would be wise not to let him go 8 straight games to often. I think we saw a slightly tired Kari, and a tired goalie is a vulnerable goalie. Not just vulnerable to losses, but injuries. With injury history he has, and the number of shots he will appear to be facing on a regular basis its my personal opinion we need to see some Raycroft. The Stars saw first hand what happens when you try and push a goalie to upwards of 70 starts. It wont do Kari any good to play that much, and it definitely is not doing Raycroft any good to keep him on the bench for a month with no game action. I honestly wouldn't even expect to much after a month away from any game action, not to mention he hasn't even seen regular season action yet. Lots of back to backs in November though and I hope we see Raycroft in at least 3 or 4 games. I know that pre-season game left a sour taste in everyones mouth but he is much better than that. And you shouldn't be so down on a guy for that, this is not Tobias Stephen thank god.