While there’s no denying he was helped out by the suffocating brand of defense being played in front of him in Game One, Stars coach Lindy Ruff believes Thursday night marked a big step for Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
Lehtonen faced and stopped 22 shots from the Wild on the way to just his second career playoff shutout, a 4-0 Stars win.
"I think the last month has been very important for him,” Ruff said, per Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. “We've been under a lot of pressure to get where we wanted to go and that was to try to finish on top. He was a big part of it so that was a step and tonight was another step for him. To step inside a playoff game again because of where we left off in the previous playoffs, he did a great job for us tonight with the saves and his puck handling helped relieve pressure."
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Ruff was not ready to declare Lehtonen the starter for Game Two, however.
"Call me a little bit later and I'll let you know,” Ruff said. “I thought he (Lehtonen) played well and didn't make any mistakes. There was a couple of time we got long shifts and I thought he made a couple of real nice saves for us. He played a great game for us."