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Lehtonen not ready, so Stars to go with Bachman

by John Manasso /

NASHVILLE -- With the Dallas Stars in a desperate situation to try to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen was not sounding optimistic Friday about his injured groin following his team's morning skate.

"I was hoping that I would feel a lot better than I did," Lehtonen said, but he added the injury is "going in the right direction."

As a result, Richard Bachman was going to start Friday at Bridgestone Arena against the Nashville Predators. Lehtonen will not be in uniform. Coach Glen Gulutzan said Cristopher Nilstorp, an emergency call-up from Texas of the American Hockey League, would back up Bachman.

Bachman stopped all 22 shots he faced Tuesday in a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in relief of Lehtonen. Friday will mark his first start in goal since Feb. 26.

Lehtonen skated for about 40 minutes each Thursday and Friday.

"I know that I couldn't play tonight so that's where we are right now," he said. "Hopefully, tomorrow morning I feel better."

The Stars began the day three points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Stars have nine games remaining; the Red Wings have eight.

Before speaking to Lehtonen, Gulutzan was somewhat optimistic about the goalie's status Saturday against the San Jose Sharks and, even more so, Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"We'll see how it goes tomorrow morning," Lehtonen said. "It's a tough situation. It's good to see Bachs do so well, and hopefully we can play great tonight."

Projected lineups:


Taylor Beck - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist

Sergei Kostitsyn - Nick Spaling - Matt Halischuk

Rich Clune - Austin Watson - Craig Smith

Daniel Bang - Chris Mueller - Bobby Butler

Shea Weber - Roman Josi

Kevin Klein - Victor Bartley

Hal Gill - Jonathon Blum

Chris Mason

Pekka Rinne

Out: Brandon Yip, Paul Gaustad, Gabriel Bourque.


Ray Whitney - Jamie Benn - Alex Chiasson

Matt Fraser - Cody Eakin - Loui Eriksson

Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Erik Cole

Antoine Roussel - Tom Wandell - Ryan Garbutt

Brenden Dillon - Alex Goligoski

Trevor Daley - Stephane Robidas

Aaron Rome - Philip Larsen

Richard Bachman

Cristopher Nilstorp

Out: Kari Lehtonen, Jordie Benn, Lane MacDermid

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