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.
Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.
Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.
The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.
Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.
Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.
Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.
The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.
The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.