The Dallas Stars lost their starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen in the first period tonight on the road against the Vancouver Canucks. He came out of the crease to cut down an angle shot and the puck went off of his blocker hand. The Dallas Stars public relations would tweet out later that he would not return with a lower body injury and will be reevaluated by the medical staff. We will update on Lehtonen's injury as soon as something is known.
Richard Bachman came in to relieve the injured Lehtonen, coming off of one of his roughest games in a 7-4 loss to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. He had a similar first period like that game -- three quick goals against and the Stars find themselves staring at a two goal deficit. Bachman was looking tentative and not confident in net. The team in front of him was a little scrambled. He did settle down as the game went on.
The game took a turn when Reilly Smith scored his first goal of his NHL career to put the Stars up with an early lead right after the Canucks had a goal waived off on a goalie interference call. The Stars started to show their tenacity, outchancing the Canucks 11-6 in the middle frame according to Josh Lile's numbers. They continued to go to the front of the net and managed to manufacture some scoring. The Stars would get scoring from their depth lines when Cody Eakin potted his second and Antoine Roussel chipped in another. Brenden Dillon would score the game winning goal to wrap up a nice trip to Canada for the rookie defenseman.
Depth scoring is something that seems to be coming for the Stars in their last few games. It is a trend that needs to continue if the Stars hope to keep in the playoff race. A concerning trend is the inability to convert on some of these odd man rushes the Stars have gotten from players like Jaromir Jagr, Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn and Brenden Morrow.
Dallas' penalty kill rebounded from a rough outing against Calgary as well; on the other side of the special teams coin, they did not convert any power play opportunities either. The Stars allowed some passing through the middle of the ice on the power plays the Canucks received, something that they have a tendency to do when they get caught standing around.
The biggest thing about tonight's game was the fight back the team showed after going down. Instead of folding and chalking this one up to a loss -- something that could easily be done when you lose your starting goaltender to injury -- but instead they fought back to a win when most had written the game off as a loss. Eric Nystrom, Vernon Fiddler, and Ryan Garbutt would drop the gloves within three seconds of one another. That line provided some good energy again for the third game in a row, and they seem to be clicking together on the fourth line.