DALLAS (AP) — Kari Lehtonen was in no mood to celebrate his fourth shutout of the season Friday night.
He made 37 saves as Dallas won 2-0 against the Florida Panthers. But the Stars lost three forwards to injuries, including scoring leader Tyler Seguin.
“We’re not really smiling or celebrating,” Lehtonen said. “Nobody is like we usually are after a win like this.”
Lehtonen made first-period goals by Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza hold up for Dallas’ third straight win. The Panthers have lost on consecutive nights.
Benn scored Dallas’ third short-handed goal in two games; the Stars lead the NHL with nine short-handed goals.
Tyler Seguin, who has 29 goals and 59 points, was helped off the ice after being checked in the lower leg by defenseman Dmitry Kulikov in the third period. Patrick Eaves followed Seguin to the locker room 51 seconds later after teammate John Klingberg’s wrist shot hit Eaves in the head.
Ales Hemsky left in the first period with a lower body injury in the first period.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff had a grim injury report. None of the three injured players accompanied the team to Colorado for Saturday night’s game.
“Eaves is on the way to get X-rays. He took a pretty good shot there to the head. He has had a previous injury there, so we’re fairly concerned,” Rupp said.
“Tyler is going to be re-evaluated (Saturday). It looks like he’s going to miss some time, too. Hemsky’s going to miss some time.”
The circumstances of Seguin’s injury bothered the Stars.
“It’s a dirty shot,” Ruff said of the hit on which Kulikov went low against the unsuspecting Seguin. “You end up taking your best player out. Not only out of the game, but he’s taken him out of the lineup for a little bit. We’ll let the league deal with it.”
Vernon Fiddler, who assisted on Benn’s goal, was more adamant.
“(Seguin)’s released the puck, and he comes across and takes his knee out. It’s a gutless play on his part, and we’ll have to deal with that at a later time,” Fiddler said.
Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said, “It was the right call. It was a five-minute (major) and game misconduct, so there’s no issue.”
The shutout was the 31st of Lehtonen’s career. The 37 saves were his highest total in a shutout this season, eclipsing his 32 on Dec. 31 against Arizona.
“I thought that the goalie was good for them,” Gallant said. “We made a couple mistakes, and it cost us.”
Florida goalie Al Montoya had 26 saves.
Dallas’ first goal came on a two-man break. Fiddler passed back to Benn at the left of the net and his low shot beat Montoya at 9:27.
Fiddler explained the Star’s recent scoring from their penalty-killing unit.
“We’ve had some meetings, and talked about a little more detail on our PK,” he explained. “I saw (Benn) coming a little bit late to the net. I’d rather have Benny shooting it than me.”
Benn has two of Dallas’ short-handed goals, and has assisted on three others.
The Stars got their other goal when Spezza took a pass from Erik Cole in the slot, turned and shot into the lower left corner at 17:09.
The second period included two altercations between Fiddler and Florida’s Jimmy Hayes. They both went off for roughing at 44 seconds and again at 14:10.
NOTES: The three short-handed goals all have come during successful penalty kills of four minutes or more. … The Panthers have allowed five short-handed goals. … Dallas LW Antoine Roussel sat out the first game of a two-game suspension for a cross check against Boston’s Adam McQuaid on Tuesday. .. At Colorado, Jhonas Enroth is expected to be in goal for Dallas. He was acquired from Buffalo on Wednesday. … The Panthers had won their previous four games in Dallas.
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