ATLANTA (AP) -Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen left a game against the New York Rangers in the first period Thursday night, appearing to have re-injured his troublesome groin.
After covering a shot at the side of the net with 8:30 remaining in the opening period, Lehtonen got up slowly and, bending over, skated toward the Atlanta bench. He slammed his stick against the boards in frustration before heading to the locker room.
Johan Hedberg took over in net with the winless Thrashers leading 2-0.
Lehtonen played only 38 games in the 2005-06 season, missing 2 1/2 months because of a groin injury. He passed up a chance to play for his native Finland in the 2006 Turin Olympics and trained extensively the next summer to build up his muscles.
Last season, Lehtonen played a career-high 68 games for the Thrashers, helping them win the Southeast Division and make the playoffs for the first time. He was off to a slow start this season along with the rest of the struggling team, coming into Thursday's game with 0-4 record and 4.72 goals-against average.