What Happened: Tonight just about everything went wrong for the Dallas Stars. Just a few minutes into the game the Stars lost Kari Lehtonen and from there things began spiraling out of control. On a slap shot that actually did not matter because the Phoenix Coyotes were offsides, Kari stretched out to his right and immediately curled up in pain. He left without putting anything pressure on his right knee and needed help to get up and off the ice. There is still no word on what exactly the injury is but I don’t expect we will hear anything until tomorrow. Andrew Raycroft came in off the bench, but the game had already changed. The Stars played like a team “shell-shocked” and just dazed after that. The Coyotes took the lead moments later when Shane Doan came crashing over Raycroft and the officials let the play go. Mikkel Boedker put in the loose puck among the carnage and gave Phoenix a 1-0 lead. From there things just got worse. Trevor Daley left the game late in the first and was later ruled out for the rest of the game. Until the third period the Stars spent most of the game chasing in their end and they never seemed to recover. Ray Whitney pushed the score to 2-0 in the 2nd off a rush and sniped in a shot from a severe angle with Raycroft playing aggressive and out of his crease. Then things only got worse as Vernon Fiddler got hit by a Sheldon Souray shot and left the game as well. By the time the final horn sounded, the Stars lost 3-0 but more importantly lost three key guys to injuries with a few guys already out as well. The Stars were dominated for most of the night in the shots and faceoffs, and really by the end were probably just trying to get out of the game. The Coyotes did their part to take advantage of the situation and take away the win, but the Stars never showed up for this one and after a couple of injuries to key guys in the first just never made a strong push.
What It Means: While it ends the Stars three-game point streak and they gave up two points to the rival Coyotes, the real story from this game will be the injuries. With Brenden Morrow, Alex Goligoski, and Adam Burish all out currently, Dallas really didn’t need anything else to happen. But tonight their star netminder, another top blueliner, and their 3rd line center all left the ice and did not return. Now the waiting game will be played and we will have to see what happens with all three of these guys. While I hope and pray that nothing is seriously wrong with Kari Lehtonen, it looked serious. Having been through two major knee surgeries myself, it looked liked he pulled or tore something in his right knee or upper leg. But after the game Glen Gulutzan just said that it appears to be a groin issue. He said both Lehtonen and Daley will be out for sure on Monday and that Fiddler’s injury appeared to be a groin issue as well and he is day-to-day. Watch for the Stars to make a few call ups from the Texas Stars either tomorrow or Monday as they know more. Richard Bachman is top guy down in Austin and the most “NHL-ready” goalie that Stars have right now among their few good young guys in the system. If Daley or Fiddler will miss more than a game or two then we could see a couple of others called up as well. More on the injury and roster situations as they come out.
What’s Next: The Stars now will head to Denver as the will play the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. After beating the Avs in that crazy 7-6 overtime contest in early November, the Stars were blanketed by the Avs 3-0 last time they faced off in Denver on the 18th. We will have a game preview and injury updates right here on BlackoutDallas for you over the next two days.
Topics: Andrew Raycroft, Brenden Morrow, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Glen Gulutzan, Kari Lehtonen, Mikkel Boedker, Phoenix Coyotes, Ray Whitney, Richard Bachman, Shane Doan, Sheldon Souray, Texas Stars, Trevor Daley, Vernon Fiddler