Published On: Mon, Aug 29th, 2016

Stars' Lehtonen still without answers for Game 7 meltdown

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Jerome Miron / USA TODAY Sports

Kari Lehtonen has given a lot of thought to the three goals on eight shots he allowed in the first period of a Game 7 loss at the hands of the St. Louis Blues this past postseason, and he still has no answer as to why it happened.

“That’s how goaltending is, and that’s why you have to stay as even-keel as you can,” he told Mike Heika of the Dallas News. “That’s why I’m not concentrating on that. I’m moving forward, and I feel good. That’s all I can really tell you.”

What’s even more confounding is the meltdown came on the heels of an impressive Game 6 performance, where Lehtonen made 35 saves on 37 shots in order to force the series-deciding game.

The up and down nature of one’s game is hard to explain, and Lehtonen is intent on making sure he’s mentally prepared for whatever comes next.

“The mental part of the game is huge for goalies, so I work on that all of the time,” Lehtonen said. “It’s hard to explain, it’s not something that is easy to describe or show what you do. But you talk about it and you think about it, and you hope that makes you better.”

General manager Jim Nill has said he’s prepared to enter a new season with Lehtonen and Antti Niemi splitting duties in net, but he likely won’t hesitate to upgrade at the position if the opportunity should present itself.

For the time being, Lehtonen is comfortable with the job share, especially after having gone through a whole season under those circumstances.

“I thought we were better (than Dallas’ goaltending the year before), and I think we will be even better this year,” Lehtonen said. “I think we’re more comfortable, and there’s less unknown. It’s more consistent.”



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