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Dallas Stars Not Confirming, But Signs Point to Kari Lehtonen Starting Against Minnesota Wild

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Lindy Ruff isn't naming his starting goaltender for tonight, but all signs point to Kari Lehtonen making the start in both ends of this back-to-back.

Thomas B. Shea

Today may only be the start of the season's second month, but the Dallas Stars are apparently treating tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild like it's as important against any down the stretch.

While coach Lindy Ruff would not confirm his team's starting goaltender for tonight, regular starter Kari Lehtonen did not particpate in morning skate while backup Anders Lindback stayed late with the recovering Sergei Gonchar. That would seem to indicate Lehtonen would be the starter for both ends of a back-to-back that started yesterday with an overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

Other potential changes, including the possible re-insertation of rookie Jyrki Jokipakka into the lineup, were equally unclear as all the defensemen left the ice at the same time and Ruff was mum on any lineup changes. The good news was that Alex Goligoski skated after taking a very hard hit into the boards last night.

At least the forwards were set, as the Stars are only carrying 12 of them on this brief road swing after sending Curtis McKenzie back to the AHL for more playing time. Valeri Nichushkin, who is on a conditioning assignment in the AHL, could return soon for extra depth.

The Wild have been one of the consistently better teams in the Western Conference this season with a 6-3-0 record, and they are expected to start Darcy Kuemper in net and potentially see injured players Jonas Brodin and Erik Haula (he of the bowling Lehtonen into the goalpost last season) return to the lineup.