Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen was chased from Friday’s game in Anaheim after allowing five goals on 21 shots, paving the way for Tim Thomas to make his Stars postseason debut.
Lehtonen, who stopped 58 of 60 shots in back-to-back wins in Dallas — recording his first-ever postseason shutout in the process — couldn’t replicate that success at the Honda Center. He was OK through two periods, making 16 saves on 19 shots, but was hooked less than five minutes into the third after surrendering two goals on his first two shots faced.
Thomas, who hasn’t played in the postseason since backstopping Boston during the opening round of the ’12 playoffs, looked a little shaky upon entering the contest, gambling on a poke check and missing as Corey Perry scored to make it 6-2 Ducks.
News and notes from around the crease…
Bob gets a break
Having already clinched the second playoff berth in franchise history, Columbus will give No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky a rest tonight and start backup Curtis McElhinney against Tampa Bay.
McElhinney hasn’t played much lately — his last start was on Mar. 29, when stopped 25 of 27 shots in a win over the Hurricanes — but there is some pressure tonight, as the Jackets could move ahead of Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division by earning at least one point. The Bolts also have something to play for, as they can overtake first-round opponent Montreal for second in the Atlantic Division, and get a leg up in the battle for home ice advantage.
Tampa Bay will start Anders Lindback in goal.
Lehtonen looks to clinch
Dallas can get into the playoffs for the first time in five years with any sort of victory — regulation, overtime or shootout — against the Blues, and the Stars will try to get there with Kari Lehtonen in goal. The Finnish netminder last played in a win over Nashville on Tuesday (stopping 27 of 29 shots) and was given Wednesday night off as a result (Tim Thomas was in for a loss to Columbus).
Tonight, Lehtonen is back and looking to fare better against the Blues than he has in the past — he’s 1-1-1 vs. St. Louis this season, with a 3.52 GAA and .867 save percentage.
For the Blues, Ryan Miller will be in net.
‘Hawks at Caps: Corey Crawford for Chicago, no word yet on a Washington starter.
Isles at Devils: No word from either team.
Jets at Flames: Karri Ramo likely for Calgary, no word on Winnipeg’s starter.
Avalanche at Sharks: Reto Berra vs. Alex Stalock
For only the second time in their franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets are going back to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Blue Jackets clinched their spot in the post-season with a 3-1 win over the host Dallas Stars on Wednesday. This game was a makeup for the March 10 meeting between the two teams, which was postponed after Dallas forward Rich Peverley collapsed due to a cardiac event.
Columbus was leading that game 1-0 on a goal from Nathan Horton early in the first period, when Peverley collapsed and was eventually taken to hospital.
Horton did not play Wednesday, however he was still credited with the opening goal, which the league has now given to him at the 0:00 mark of this game.
The Blue Jackets took a three-goal lead in the first period – they only needed to score twice in order for that to happen – before holding on to for the win and two points.
Not that the Stars, in a playoff race of their own in the Western Conference, didn’t try to pull out all the stops in the third period to try and at least get a single point.
As per Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, Stars head coach Lindy Ruff pulled Tim Thomas from the net on a power play just before the midway point of the third period. The bold move did result in a goal from Trevor Daley, but that was all the Stars would get.