February was never going to be particularly kind to the Dallas Stars. The schedule has nine divisional matchups, with four eastern opponents (including the league-leading Washington Capitals) and one Pacific division opponent.
After starting this stretch with a 2-1-0 record on the back of Antti Niemi, with the loss being a miserable thud at home versus the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday, the Stars will look to Kari Lehtonen to continue the winning record versus the Minnesota Wild tonight.
Lehtonen has played in six games versus the Central this season, posting a 1.67 goals against average and a .926 save percentage in those games. (That includes the relief duty he saw versus the Blackhawks on Saturday after Niemi's night was done.) He hasn't started a game since January 19th when he faced the Los Angeles Kings.
He'll faceoff versus Darcy Keumper in net for the Minnesota Wild, who seems to always play like a Vezina winner when he plays the Stars. Devan Dubnyk had started the last four games for the Wild, and recorded four losses. The change in net for both teams is intended to spark some desperation hockey and turn both clubs' fortunes around.
Mike Heika has the potential lineups and defensive pairings as follows, with Jamie Olekisak, Jyrki Jokipakka, and Colton Sceviour the likely scratches.
Guessing on the lines this morning.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) February 9, 2016
D-pairs look the same:— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) February 9, 2016