Mar 13, 2012, 11:53 PM EDT
Ilya Bryzgalov will naturally gain a big chunk of tonight’s spotlight among red-hot goalies, but Dallas Stars workhorse Kari Lehtonen isn’t far behind. The Finnish netminder earned his second shutout in a row as the Stars outlasted the Minnesota Wild by the paper-thin margin of 1-0 on Tuesday.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
If you take a longer view on things, the “hottest goalie” argument likely extends to Lehtonen vs. Ryan Miller. Mark Stepneski points out that Lehtonen is 8-0-1 with a 1.29 GAA and ridiculous .955 save percentage in his last nine starts.
All those debates aside, the bottom line is that the Stars continue to strengthen their hold on the top spot in the Pacific Division. Dallas is currently at 83 points with 12 games left, leaving them four points ahead of second place Phoenix. (The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings are currently in action, but at best, the Sharks will reach 79 points and the Kings can finish with no more than 78.)
The Stars have won six games in a row and are 10-0-1 in their last 11 contests. It remains to be seen if they can hang on to the division lead and the third seed that comes with it, but the odds are easily in favor of them advancing to the postseason.
To outside observers, that would be a big enough accomplishment, yet Lehtonen’s play might generate some bolder dreams.
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