Kari Lehtonen injury: Stars netminder leaves game after Erik Haula charging

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Lehtonen's injury could seriously impact the Western Conference race.

Saturday night was supposed to be one of celebration and excitement for the Dallas Stars. And for awhile, it was. Mike Modano's number retirement went off without a hitch, and the Stars enjoyed two different leads through the first two periods.

But Matt Cooke changed everything. The controversial Wild winger sent the game spiraling into anger and physicality when he caught Stars rookie Valeri Nichushkin with a knee-to-knee hit in the third period.

Minutes later, Erik Haula drove head-first into Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Haulacharging_medium

Haula was ejected from the game with a five-minute major for charging. Lehtonen suffered cuts on his face, and it sure looked like he conked his head on the crossbar when he fell. Tim Thomas replaced him in the net, making his Stars debut.

Any long-term injury to Lehtonen would come at a serious cost to the Stars' playoff hopes. He's 25-16-10 this year with a 2.45 goals against average.

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