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Stars fall to Avalanche, 1-0

Lehtonen solid in goal, but Stars can't find back of net against Colorado

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Kari Lehtonen was solid in net Wednesday night, but he didn't get any offensive support from his teammates as the Dallas Stars lost, 1-0, to the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center.

Colorado's Andreas Martinsen scored on a two-on-one rush eight minutes into the game and that was it for the scoring on the night.

"We had a slow start," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "I thought the first ten minutes they dictated play. The second and third periods were a real low-chance affair, but I thought we played well defensively."

Lehtonen, who played the entire game, stopped 19 shots, including 11 of 12 in the first period when Colorado had the better of play.

"It was good," Lehtonen said. "I got in a better rhythm and more comfortable. I feel comfortable now, and that is what I was trying to find during training camp. That's good." 

"Kari was solid," Ruff said. "Our goaltenders the last two games, Kari and Antti [Niemi] both were solid. Not a lot of work in the second and third for him but he made a couple of key saves when we needed them."

Goals have been hard to come by for the Stars, who have scored only nine goals in six preseason games (1.5 per game).

"We've had a lot of personnel out, and a lot of our key personnel hasn't played that much," Ruff said. "Some of our young guys have had some good chances, just haven't [finished]."

The Stars had some good chances Wednesday. Remi Elie missed the net on a great shorthanded chance. Colorado goalie Calvin Pickard, who made 28 saves in the game, came up with a big stop on a point-blank bid by Matej Stransky. Both Patrick Sharp and Jason Spezza hit posts.

"We just have to be a little more opportunistic on some of our chances," Spezza said. "We had some good looks on goal and didn't score, while they capitalized on theirs."

The Stars penalty kill had a strong game, going 8-8. The Stars allowed just three power play shots despite being shorthanded for a total of 12:35 in the game. That shorthanded time included a Colorado five-on-three for 1:31, most of it with Stars center Radek Faksa playing without his stick.

"Our penalty killing was excellent," Ruff said.

The Stars, who are 3-3-0 in preseason play, wrap up their exhibition schedule when they take on the Los Angeles Kings in Las Vegas on Friday.

Notes

*The Stars outshot the Avalanche 28-20 and had a 56-43 advantage in attempted shots.

*Jason Spezza led the Stars with 5 shots on goal and 7 attempted shots. Patrick Sharp and Brett Ritchie were next with six attempted shots.

*The Stars were 0-4 on the power play and 8-8 on the penalty kill.

*Dallas won 32 of 55 faceoffs (58 percent).

*Gemel Smith won 11 of 15 faceoffs (73 percent). Adam Cracknell won 9 of 14 (64 percent). Radek Faksa won 7 of 14 (50 percent). Jason Spezza won 5 of 12 (42 percent).

*Dan Hamhuis led the Stars with 21:39 of ice time.

*Center Gemel Smith led the Stars with 6:11 of shorthanded time.

*Stars forward Curtis McKenzie and Avalanche forward Rene Bourque both picked up fighting majors in the game.

*The Stars assigned F Denis Gurianov and G Henri Kiviaho to Texas (AHL) Wednesday. The Stars also released F Matt Mangene from his professional tryout. Mangene will join the Texas Stars as well.

Stars Lineup

Jiri Hudler - Jason Spezza - Patrick Sharp
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Matej Stransky
Remi Elie - Gemel Smith - Brett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie - Adam Cracknell - Cole Ully

Dan Hamhuis - Julius Honka
Esa Lindell - Jordie Benn
Jamie Oleksiak - Mattias Backman

Kari Lehtonen
Maxime Lagace

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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