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Stars looking for answer in net

Image (1) kari-thumb-250x166-7264.jpg for post 321

In spite of Marc Crawford’s steadfast optimism that the Dallas Stars should continue fighting for a playoff spot, their season is most likely 14 games from being over. The Stars would need to get 23 out of a possible 28 points just to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs, and if you’ve seen the defense this season you realize just how tall a task that is.

So now the question is what do the Stars do with their goaltenders? If the Dallas Stars truly think they still have a legit shot at the playoffs, then they’ll need to ride Marty Turco during that process. But with the season most likely coming to an end, is it time to look ahead to next season?

Perhaps. The Dallas Stars will be starting Kari Lehtonen in net tomorrow night against San Jose.

“He’s had a good couple weeks with us now and he’s getting more familiar and, more importantly, conditioning-wise he’s ready to get the start and we’re going to give him the opportunity,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said. “We’re hoping he comes in and plays a strong game.”

“I think I am more ready now than I was in Pittsburgh,” said Lehtonen. “Now I just need to go out there and help this team. I am confident I can do that.”

Lehtonen hasn’t exactly looked very sharp so far in Dallas, but he’s still working to get back to top playing level after nearly a year out of the NHL. He’s not going to be at his best right away, and he needs time to show the Stars what he is capable of. With the Stars likely facing a long summer, Lehtonen should get the majority of the starts down the stretch.

Of course, who knows what the heck Crawford will be doing. Remaining optimistic is fine, and you certainly hope the coaching staff doesn’t just give up and throw in the towel with a month left in the season. But blind optimism that hurts the team in the long run? Well, that I cannot agree with. Bite the bullet and play Lehtonen, and not just tomorrow night.