Fighting for their playoff lives, the Dallas Stars were forced to hook starting goalie Kari Lehtonen after a second period implosion against Carolina on Thursday.
The ‘Canes scored three goals in a span of 4:35, building a commanding 3-0 lead and forcing Stars head coach Lindy Ruff to respond by hooking Lehtonen in favor of Tim Thomas.
Dallas began unraveling early in the middle frame, as Carolina captain Eric Staal scored his 19th of the season at the 2:30 mark. Ninety-seven seconds later, Justin Faulk scored on the power play to make it 2-0 and, less than three minutes after that, John-Michael Liles scored his second of the season to end Lehtonen’s night prematurely.
The Finnish netminder wasn’t the only Dallas player to experience a tough second period. Rookie defenseman Patrik Nemeth, playing in just his second NHL contest, took both penalties that Carolina converted — one for hooking, and one for delay of game after flipping the puck over the glass.
It’s worth noting that Dallas did respond to the goalie change, as Tyler Seguin scored his 34th goal of the season just a short while after Thomas entered.