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Lehtonen on a roll for Stars

Goaltender has allowed one goal in first two games against Wild

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen has carried his late-season hot streak into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Lehtonen, who was 2-6 with a 3.88 goals-against-average and .874 save percentage in eight career playoff games before this year, is 2-0 after helping the Stars hold off the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round Series. He has allowed one goal in two games and has a .979 save percentage.

"It is something you want to do every year, and as I've gotten older I've come to realize that it's not that easy to even get there," Lehtonen said of getting to the playoffs. "That's why I'm fortunate to be in this situation right now and really happy to have this opportunity and to go out there and work hard and enjoy this ride."

Game 3 is at Xcel Energy Center on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, FS-SW, FS-N, FS-WI).

Lehtonen made 25 saves in Game 2, including several big stops in the final minutes of the third period when the Wild pushed to tie the game and force overtime.

Video: MIN@DAL, Gm2: Lehtonen makes great reflex save

"He made a couple of real good saves," coach Lindy Ruff said. "He was strong all night for us. His goaltending has been very strong going down the stretch here for us."

Lehtonen's strong play in Games 1 and 2 is a continuation of his hot finish; he was 8-1-0 with a 1.68 GAA and a save percentage of .935 in his last nine regular-season games.

Stars captain Jamie Benn, who scored the winning goal, has also been impressed with Lehtonen's performance.

"He's played some good hockey, making big saves at a key time," Benn said. "We saw that tonight with a few seconds left there."

Lehtonen and Antti Niemi divided time during the regular season, but Lehtonen has started the first two games of the playoffs. He hopes he'll start Game 3 but knows that's Ruff's decision, not his.

"That's something that comes with getting good results on the ice," Lehtonen said. "I'm just trying to play well one period at a time and not thinking if I get to play the next game or if I'm not; [I'm] just trying to keep things simple and try to be less stupid too, and not think too much. But that's easy for a goalie to do."

Video: MIN@DAL Gm2: Lehtonen denies two chances on doortep

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