After going to Antti Niemi for Games 4 and 5, on Sunday, the Dallas Stars went back to Kari Lehtonen in goal in Game 6, and while Lehtonen saw a massive lead evaporate in front of him in the third period, he came out on the other side a 5-4 winner, the first postseason series victory of his career.
"I guess it's 12 years in the league now and this is the first time I'm on a serious winning team," Lehtonen said. "So I enjoyed it a lot, and it makes me want to get more."
Lehtonen went to the third period looking at the possibility of bookending the series with shutouts. He blanked the Wild in Game 1, 4-0, and it was 4-0 going to the third on Sunday. The Wild then scored four goals in the period, losing only because Alex Goligoski was able to break up the Wild’s surge with a goal of his own.
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Not that the offensive burst on the part of the Wild was all Lehtonen’s fault. It wasn’t.
"There's a couple goals there [Lehtonen] couldn't do a lot about," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "Take away a couple of those goals, and his numbers would be good. The thing you've got to realize with him is this is his first [playoff series] win, too."
Lehtonen is now 3-1 on the 2016 postseason.