Dallas, home of the NHL’s most-discussed goalie platoon, has made the call for its opening-night starter against Anaheim.
Antti Niemi, who came on in relief of Kari Lehtonen in last year’s 6-1 playoff elimination loss to St. Louis, will be in between the pipes tonight at American Airlines.
The Stars’ two-goalie setup was under the microscope throughout last season, and that scrutiny only intensified in the playoffs. Head coach Lindy Ruff grew wary of the situation — saying he was “tired of explaining our two goalie thing” — but, after getting bounced, he insisted the Stars didn’t one clear-cut No. 1 netminder.
GM Jim Nill agreed. He shot down rumblings of a potential Lehtonen buyout in June, remaining committed to the goaltending tandem that costs Dallas $10.4 million annually.
It’s probably worth noting that Dallas made the decision to open last year with Niemi as well. He played well, posting a 37-save shutout against Pittsburgh.
For the Ducks, John Gibson gets the start tonight.
— As Brough wrote earlier, Connor Hellebuyck has been named Winnipeg’s opening-night starter. He’ll be up against Cam Ward, who gets the nod for Carolina.