Lehtonen ‘not doing very well’ with concussion, so it’s Timmy time in Dallas

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The Stars are fighting for their playoff lives and just lost their starting goalie to injury, yet nobody’s freaking out.

Why?

Because their No. 2 goalie isn’t a run-of-the-mill backup.

It’s Tim Thomas, acquired last Wednesday in a trade deadline deal with Florida. The 40-year-old, less than three years removed from winning the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP during Boston’s Stanley Cup championship, is now primed to be Dallas’ No. 1 after Kari Lehtonen suffered a concussion on this nasty collision with Minnesota forward Erik Haula:

Looks like Thomas will be the guy in goal for the next while. Ruff — who, prior to Lehtonen getting hurt, suggested that Thomas would get a shot at the No. 1 gig anyway — knows what Thomas brings to the table, and is excited to see it.

“He’s not your conventional type of goaltender, but we knew that going in,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning-News. “He’s a battler, he’s athletic. He’s been in the fire before and knows how to handle it, and that experience can help us.”

The big question now is, how much can Dallas rely on Timmy?

He was a workhorse at times for Florida this season, serving as the Panthers’ goalie of record for nearly a full month straight:

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So, it stands to reason he’s ready for Dallas’ stretch drive. The Stars play 11 times over the next 19 days, including back-to-backs tonight (vs. Columbus) and tomorrow (vs. St. Louis), then on Mar. 28-29 against the Preds and Blues.

Dallas GM Jim Nill said he made the Thomas deal because the Stars are “serious about making the playoffs and making a statement in the playoffs.” And Ruff knows the importance of postseason goaltending, as his deepest runs in Buffalo came on the strength of outstanding performances by Dominik Hasek (’99 Stanley Cup Final) and Ryan Miller (’06 and ’07 Conference Finals).

So, they made the move expecting Thomas to play a role — maybe not one this big, but a role nonetheless. As for Thomas, he says he’s just excited to be part of the playoff chase.

“The intensity … it’s fun to be a part of,” he said. “To me, it makes it easier to play.”

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.