This is going to shock you, but Kari Lehtonen is going to be a restricted free agent this summer.
No no, I’m as surprised as you! Because it wasn’t that he’d allowed just five goals on 121 shots and posted two shutouts over the four games preceding tonight’s Thrashers/Capitals game. Obviously.
No, he felt he’d have to top that with a 49-save performance in Atlanta’s utter dismantling of the Southeast-leading Caps, who came into the game with the fourth-most goals in the entire NHL, 5-1. It was a performance so good that the people over at NHL.com who decide these things deemed nine of his saves to be highlight-reel material. Nine. That’s a lot of highlights for most total GAMES on NHL.com, and Lehtonen got that by himself (’course, the Atlanta defense had a big hand in that by helping him not at all.
But the best came in the third period when somehow Alex Semin got all alone in front of the net and Lehtonen went all the way across the crease and stacked the pads to kick it out.
It was a stunning performance, ruined only by a goal from Eric Fehr with 1:15 to go.
Facing 50 shots from Washington, even without Mike Green in the lineup and 20 of those coming from Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Semin by themselves, AND living to tell the tale? That’s awful impressive.
Don Waddell must be wondering if he should’ve traded Lehtonen at the deadline after all, because that Finnish son of a bitch is going to cost a lot of money or at least make him play a lot more Final Fantasy. Either way, it’s a bad situation.
Nashville 4, Los Angeles 3
Wild one. LA opened the scoring, and Shea Weber tied it with 15 seconds left in the first period. Then Joel Ward put Nashville up 2-1 like a minute and a half into the second, and Teddy Purcell tied it 15 minutes later, but Steve Sullivan put the Preds back up 1:45 after that. Then Michal Handzus tied it again midway through the third period. And then Ryan Jones won the game with 2:18 to play. After all that had happened, I just spent that whole third period waiting for the Kings to blow it. They did not disappoint. It just seemed inevitable.