Lehtonen stopped just 18 of the 22 shots he faced in Saturday's overtime loss against the Capitals. Lehtonen entered the third period with a 3-1 lead, but obviously was unable to hold it. Dallas netminders have had issues lately with soft goals, and neither Lehtonen or Antti Niemi have put many smiles on the faces of fantasy owners lately. Both should be trusted only as low-end No. 2 options until they turn things around.
Lehtonen will work between the posts Saturday as the home starter against the Capitals, NHL.com reports. It's been nine games since Lehton last skated away with a victory, as the Stars cannot seem to string it together offensively with any degree of consistency. Looking ahead to the upcoming contest, Washington has the clear advantage defensively as well, topping the league for fewest goals allowed per contest (2.07), in addition to sporting the league's third-best penalty kill. We could point the needle at several more advantages that the Capitals have in this next game, but the deciding factor just might hinge on how disciplined the Stars can be. Far too often, Lehtonen's been burned by the team taking too many penalties -- they accrue an average of 11.3 PIM in the sin bin per contest which looks even worse when stacked up against Washington's fifth-best rate (8.4).
Lehtonen made 33 saves on 35 shots in Thursday's 3-0 loss to the Islanders. He got scored on twice by John Tavares; that'll happen. Otherwise, the Finn shut down the Islanders, only to see Thomas Greiss deliver a perfect effort on the other side. He remains winless since beating the Avs back on Dec. 29, but Lehtonen is taking steps in the right direction -- over his last four appearances, he has a 2.32 GAA and .932 save mark. Antti Niemi has been patently awful lately, so it looks like Lehtonen will probably control the Stars' net until he (almost inevitably) stumbles again.
Lehtonen will start between the pipes in Thursday's road game against the Islanders, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports. Lehtonen hasn't played well in the month of January, posting an 0-2-1 record with a 3.73 GAA and .882 save percentage over six appearances. The veteran backstop will look to get back on track in a tough road matchup with an Islanders team that's averaging 2.83 goals per game this season, eighth in the NHL.
Lehtonen was perfect in relief of Antti Niemi against the Rangers on Tuesday, making 12 saves in a 7-6 win (which was credited to Niemi). The Stars already had that 7-6 lead when Lehtonen came in, so he played the role of a baseball-style closer, preserving his fellow countryman's victory. For his part, Lehtonen hasn't won a game in January yet, and he's certainly had his share of disasters along the way. Both Dallas netminders have been performing poorly, so there's little reason to trust either of them for fantasy purposes.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
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