Lehtonen nearly perfect as Stars edge Red Wings

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- He didn't get the shutout, but Kari Lehtonen got the win.
Lehtonen came within less than four seconds of a his 22nd career whitewashing, making 39 saves, and Michael Ryder scored both goals in the Dallas Stars' 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday night.
Rookie Damien Brunner ruined Lehtonen's shutout attempt by scoring his first NHL goal, with 3.4 seconds left. It came off a goal-mouth scramble and a pass from Pavel Datsyuk.
"It was fairly easy the first 50 minutes I would say, then Detroit came a lot harder," Lehtonen said. "It was nice to have that two-goal lead. It made it a little more calm."
Cody Eakin assisted on both goals for Dallas (2-1-0).
Jimmy Howard stopped 30 shots for the Red Wings (1-2-1).
"They trapped pretty good in the zone, I think ... But we've got to get harder to the net," Brunner said. "And they have a big goalie, who was making some saves."
Ryder, who has four goals in his last three games against Detroit, opened the scoring 5:41 into the game with his first goal. Ryder's wrist shot from the top of the right circle deflected off the stick of Red Wings' defenseman Kyle Quincey and beat Howard high on the far (stick) side.
"Took a quick shot from the slot, and it managed to find its way in." Ryder said.
Detroit's Valtteri Filppula beat Lehtonen at the five minute mark of the second period, but he hit the goal post from the slot while the Red Wings were killing a penalty.
"Always when you hear that noise it's not fun, but I was happy to see it come back," Lehtonen said. "I think that was the difference.
Howard made several outstanding saves in the second period to keep the Stars' lead at 1-0. He stopped Tom Wandell, who was alone, just off the crease with 6:33 left in the middle period and Howard knocked away Trevor Daley's one-timer from the slot on a shorthanded two-on-one Stars rush with 4:15 remaining in the middle period.
Lehtonen robbed Brunner 39 seconds into the third period with a glove save on a rebound shot from the bottom of the right circle.
Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan isn't surprised that Lehtonen is in top form so early.
"If you look at last season, he got off to a great start," the Stars coach said. "... This season, he's taken a bigger step."
Ryder's second goal came 5:34 into the third period on a one-time shot from the bottom of the left circle.
Detroit was 0-for-4 on the power play to run its season mark to 0-for-15.
"Yeah, it was no good," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said of his team's play with the man advantage. "... We passed it around and passed it around. If you don't shoot, you don't get it back."
NOTES: Gulutzan liked the play of Eakin, a 21-year old center, who is playing between veterans Ryder and Ray Whitney. "He played a simple game," Gulutzan said. "He used his speed and he made plays to the right guys." ... The Stars head back home to play the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night after three games in four nights. ... Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom officially announced his retirement during a press conference before Tuesday night's game at Joe Louis Arena. He played 15 seasons, helping the Red Wings win four Stanley Cups. He also won an Olympic gold medal for Sweden (2006) and is one of only six players to play in 1,000 games with the Red Wings. ... Because of a spate of early injuries on the blue line, Detroit signed veteran defenseman Kent Huskins to a one-year, one-way contract worth $750,000. Jonathan Ericsson injured his hip in the season opener in St. Louis on Saturday night and Carlo Colaiacovo suffered a shoulder injury on Monday night in Columbus. Huskins was in the lineup on Tuesday night. ... Also out of the lineup on Tuesday for the Red Wings were forwards Todd Bertuzzi (flu), Darren Helm (back) and Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin). Detroit also recalled C Gustav Nyquist from its AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.

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