For all the heroic efforts Kari Lehtonen threw out for the Dallas Stars in the first half of the season, particularly the first two months, it's hard to believe Tuesday's 1-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks was his first shutout of the season.
But his 27-save effort came at exactly the right time for Dallas, which was mired in a five-game losing streak and playing the hottest team in the league, which had picked up points in nine consecutive games.
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said he could tell it would be one of those nights from Lehtonen early in the game, probably when he was standing on his head to keep the Stars head above water after another slow start.
And Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski said that even though he scored the game's only goal on a fluky deflection off of Cam Fowler, the story of the game was easy to figure out.
"It feels good. It’s been a while. I think as the game went on we got a little more comfortable. You can tell that club is playing good hockey right now. They didn’t turn the puck over, they played a good game. It comes down to Kari (Lehtonen), he was great. We got the one goal, and that was all we needed tonight."
A bit of housekeeping here - with the All-Star break upon us, Stars news is probably going to be pretty light, so these are going to become the Dallas Stars Every-Other-Day Links until we get to next week. Hey, even link girls need a break.
After the jump, more on the Stars victory over the Ducks, catching up with some of the front office moves and and Richard Zednik dodges another serious injury.
- He appeared to be vibrating with excitement at times, and you could tell he was gripping the stick too tightly on his couple of could-have-been scoring chances, but overall, it was a good night to be Matt Fraser as the undrafted free agent made his NHL debut. [DallasNews.com]
- While Lehtonen was having a monster night, the game-within-a-game was the Ducks top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan against the Stars third line of Vernon Fiddler, Eric Nystrom and Radek Dvorak. Wanna guess who won? [ESPN Dallas]
- While it was just the first loss since Jan. 4, any loss at this point is a big setback to the Ducks, who need a pretty miraculous run to get back into the playoff race. So you can understand the team being a little put off that it was bested by a bad-bounce goal. [Orange County Register]
- Our friends over at Anaheim Calling couldn't be too disappointed with how the Ducks played, and I can't blame them. The Ducks did basically everything a coach could ask for except score. [Anaheim Calling]
- Ever wonder where those cool behind-the-scenes photos come from? This is a pretty neat blog entry about Trey Hill, who's responsible for all those pictures. [Wonderful Machine Cog]
- The Stars front office continues to be filled out under new owner Tom Gaglardi, who was reportedly at Tuesday's game. This story focuses on new executive vice president of business operations Jason Farris, who recently released a book on the life of an NHL general manager. [The Star]
- Wonder of wonders, Jamie Benn is finally growing a personality with the media. Plus he's angling for a new car and got to skate with the rest of the team. I'd say it was a good day to be him. [ESPN Dallas]
- Catching up with former Grumpy Old Line member Kirk Muller, who is settling in as the new head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. [Raleigh Downtowner]
- Richard Zednik was involved in one of the scarier incidents in recent NHL memory when one of the veins in his neck was cut by a skate during his days with the Florida Panthers. And this week, he was part of a scary incident in his homeland of Slovakia, where he and a bunch of kids he was scrimmaging with got off the ice just before the rink's roof collapsed. [Puck Daddy]
- Around the Pacific Division: The San Jose Sharks did the Stars a favor with their 1-0 win over the Calgary Flames behind a Benn Ferriero goal. The Ottawa Senators couldn't do the same, and they're probably ready to be done with the Pacific Division after a 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. [Arizona Republic/San Jose Mercury News]
- I have a lot of respect for anyone who's willing to put themselves out there in a celebrity hockey game. Even if you have experience playing from when you were younger, as Linda Cohn does, hockey is not a sport that makes you look glamorous when you're an amateur, especially if you play goalie. [Deadspin]
- I don't know if anyone else around here watched the TV series "Friday Night Lights," which is awesome and comes with my highest recommendation. But there was a running joke among show fans that Kyle Chandler's hair emoted as much as his face did. I think the same thing about Lehtonen, particularly when his hair reaches its full vertical height, like it did for his immediately televised post-game interview. Sadly, when he met the media in the locker room, the hair was on full lockdown mode under a hat.