It seemed like it was just a matter of time before Kari Lehtonen went down with an injury. Turns out, it was.
The Dallas Stars goaltender who was a huge reason why the Stars jumped out to the best start in the NHL, had seen a bit of a regression to the mean in recent weeks, along with his team's return to earth. Unfortunately, he's also seen a return to old times ... going down to injury.
The Stars placed Lehtonen on injured reserve on Sunday, a day after he left the Stars' 3-0 loss to the Coyotes. The Associated Press reported it as a knee injury for Lehtonen, but Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News says it's Lehtonen's troublesome groin that's the problem. The team would only call it a lower-body injury.
Lehtonen's bug-a-boo with the injury bug has been his groin. In two different seasons (05-06 and 07-08) he missed at least 16 games with different groin issues. And probably the last thing that the Stars fans want to hear, Heika fears it could be a long-term injury. Ouch.
Lehtonen has been leaned on more heavily than most goaltenders across the league. When Andrew Raycroft is your backup, you sort of see why. So for the time being, Raycroft is going to get his shot and Dallas recalled Richard Bachman to be the backup.
The Stars were already slipping. They recently suffered through a five-game losing streak and have gone 3-6-1 in their last 10. Even with that, they are still in a three-way tie atop the Pacific Division. So the time without Lehtonen will be crucial to them.
The Finnish Lehtonen has been spectacular this season for the Stars, posting a 13-4-2 record with a 2.34 goals against average and .926 save percentage.
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