If you look at the Dallas Stars’ season record, you wouldn’t think they would be the team to end the Washington Capitals’ remarkable 15-game run of wins at home. If you consider the season Kari Lehtonen‘s been having, you wouldn’t expect him to be the main reason why.
That was very much the case on Monday, however, as Lehtonen put together a remarkable performance (stopping 42 out of 44 shots) as Dallas held on for a 4-2 win against Washington.
For whatever reason, the Stars just have the Capitals’ number (and looking at his splits, Lehtonen’s been pretty good against Washington in general).
Meanwhile, Braden Holtby seems to struggle against the Stars:
Hmm, maybe we should have seen this coming, after all? Dallas has that streak against Washington, and this marks the second-consecutive 40+ save win for Lehtonen.
While there was frustration for the Capitals, the outcome enlivens the Stars more than it hurts Washington. They still seem like a long shot to make a run, but a playoff push seems at least conceivable:
Last wild card spot: Blues, 69 points in 64 games played
Kings – 68 points in 65 GP
Jets – 66 in 66 (in action against the Sharks)
Stars: 64 in 66
Canucks – 63 in 65
A five-point difference sounds easier to surmount than it really is, at least in an era of frequent “three-point games,” but at least the Stars have some hope.
And, with the way that top players like Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and John Klingberg are heating up, the Stars could be a scary dark horse. Just imagine if this “great goaltending” thing isn’t just a passing fad …