Julius Honka has a lot of promise as part of the Dallas Stars blueline corps. However, head coach Lindy Ruff indicated today that the young defensemen will sit tonight when the Stars take on the Winnipeg Jets in an important Central Division match-up.
Ruff also said that Honka is sitting for match-up purposes. It’s possible that he looked at the physical size of the Jets lineup and decided that he wanted a bigger body, and that would explain why Patrik Nemeth draws back in.
Kari Lehtonen will be in net tonight for his 9th straight game in which he’s played. He’s been very hot at even strength those nine games, minus the Washington game:
Just ignore those times when the penalty kill was more than sub-optimal.
Ondrej Pavelec will be in net for the Jets. He’s been equally as good as Lehtonen lately - an average 91.3% save percentage at even strength and an 80% save percentage on the penalty kill.
There are more than just goaltending parallels between these two teams, too. Each have 52 points in the standings (though Dallas holds two games in hand on Winnipeg currently). Dallas is 4-4-2 in their last ten games, while Winnipeg is 4-5-1.
Winnipeg is 9th in goal scoring in the league, averaging 2.89 games per game. Dallas, on the back of its offensive renaissance since the beginning of the calendar year of 2017, sit at 12th in the league with 2.76 goals per game. We’re sure to see some fireworks with neither Winnipeg or Dallas being defensive stalwarts (they rank 26th and 27th in the league in goals against per game, respectively.