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Stars' Lehtonen awaits call in Game 6

Goalie ready if he gets start over Niemi against Wild

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- The last time the Dallas Stars lost a playoff game, they switched goaltenders.

After their latest loss, the question is, will they do it again?

Stars coach Lindy Ruff appears to have a decision to make for Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET: NBC, SN, TVA Sports).

Does he stick with Antti Niemi, who won Game 4 at Minnesota but allowed five goals in Game 5? Or does Ruff go back to Kari Lehtonen, who won Games 1 and 2 before losing Game 3?

Ruff wouldn't reveal his thinking Saturday, but Lehtonen, who got his second NHL playoff shutout in Game 1, a 4-0 win on April 14, sounds like he will be ready if he gets to start.

"I try not to [change my routine] too much [in the playoffs]," Lehtonen said after practice Saturday. "Maybe things come a little faster, but I try not to think about what's on their line and things like that, just focus more on the next shift, not even next period. In the goalie world, that [the next period] is too far away."

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm3: Lehtonen denies Gabriel's one-timer

Niemi gave up the first two goals 5:16 into Game 5, then the tying and winning goals to Wild forward Mikko Koivu late in the third period and in overtime of the 5-4 loss.

The Stars lead the best-of-7 series 3-2. Game 7 would be at Dallas on Tuesday.

"The message [to the team] is clean up some of the mistakes and play with the energy we played with [in Game 5]," Ruff said. "When we chase the game, we make the mistakes early. We got to clean up those early mistakes and go from there."

Forward Cody Eakin said, "It [the start] is going to dictate the first period, which is huge, and all the rest of the game. We're going to come out all guns firing and leave it all out there and see what happens."

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

The Stars will again be without center Tyler Seguin, who will miss a fourth consecutive game. Seguin, second on Dallas with 73 points this season, missed the final 10 games of the regular season and Game 1 after he needed surgery to repair a partially cut Achilles sustained on March 17. He played in Game 2 but looked rusty and will not travel to Minnesota.

Forward Ales Hemsky, tied for third on the Stars with three points in the series, missed practice Saturday but Ruff said it was a maintenance day.

Dallas has allowed 12 goals in the past three games after allowing one in the first two.

"You try to put whatever's happened, good or bad, behind you as quick as you can and worry about what's coming down the road," Stars forward Patrick Sharp said. "And in our case that's a big Game 6 in a tough building against a good team, so we're excited to get on the plane, go in there and play."

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