Kari Lehtonen Shines as Dallas Stars Fend Off Winnipeg Jets 2-1 in Shootout

The Stars needed overtime to get to 24 shots on the Jets after Nashville put 44 on them the other night...

The Dallas Stars got back in the win the column Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets thanks to a monstrous performance by goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

And that's about as nice a thing as you can say about this one.

Two hockey teams positively slogged through a snore-fest at American Airlines Center this evening, and the Stars had just 15 shots on goal when the first third-period TV timeout came around and Razor was remarking that he could not remember the last time the Jets netminder made any save of substance.

That would be young (and huge) Connor Hellebuyck, who gave Kari a run for his money down at the other end until the head fakes and the gyrations of the shootout shook him loose a little bit thanks to the stylings of Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp.

A shootout might have been a fitting way to end this one, because it was like a nice squeeze of lime over an otherwise bland and boorish dish - livening it up at the end to lessen the unbearable nature of its consumption as a whole.

It looked like the Stars might have awoken from this odd January slumber when they recorded 10 shots in the first period, took a 1-0 lead thanks to Tyler Seguin's tally, and made the Jets do lots of things that some officials might consider penalties, though not these ones tonight.

Then came the four-shot fiasco that was the second period and elongated periods of inactivity, peppered with a goal from Perreault to tie it up and one shortened power play for Dallas.

The third period brought with it additional futility to the tune of a single shot through the first 5-6 minutes, but a return to the lineups to which Stars fans are accustomed as Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were reunited, and the law firm of Spezza, Janmark and Nichushkin reconvened on the second trio.

Having seemingly earned their freedom back from coach Ruff the wonder duo and their first power play unit would lay another goose egg on a third period power play thanks to a high-sticking penalty on Drew Stafford.

Four-on-four also proved fruitless after Chiariot and Radek Faksa exchanged minors for roughing and boarding, respectively. The mantra that the Stars' best players had to be their best players was not looking like it was going to come to fruition, and when the game spilled sloppily over into the overtime frame a familiar scene unfolded.

As in New Jersey one of the Stars' top line players found himself in the penalty box - this time Patrick Sharp. However this time they held firm, though perhaps with a little intervention from the hockey gods after two broken sticks for the Jets lessened the danger.

Kari Lehtonen was the better man in the shootout, and that Patrick Sharp move to the backhand was sick (go watch it if you didn't see it) - so the Stars get the full two points and some comfort being back on home ice.

But that was anything but pretty. As Razor often says, you might close your curtains if you saw that going on in your back yard. The Stars have a variety of things to work on as the competition ratchets up in the form of the Minnesota Wild, who come to town Saturday. Minnesota went to overtime tonight as well and lost to the Flyers.

In the end the Jets barely out-attempted them 62-57, but that doesn't quite tell the story of this one. With any luck no one will ever try to tell it again, actually.

They get two points. They can wash a little bit of the funk out of their mouths, start to breathe a little easier, and hopefully get some rest in before Saturday because after the energy of the first period it was all down hill from there.

Best of all, while things were not pretty on the offensive side, they played 65 minutes and surrendered just a single goal - that's a good sign.

62 points for the Stars now as they try to fend off a furious rally from the Central. See you Saturday.