Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NHL [Print without images]

Thursday, December 29, 2011
Stars activate Kari Lehtonen

ESPNDallas.com

Goalie Kari Lehtonen, who has missed the last 12 games with a lower body injury, was activated off injured reserve by the Dallas Stars on Wednesday and will be between the pipes against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

"(Lehtonen) is ready to go. He'll get the start (Thursday) and I think it's the right time to do all this and he's ready," coach Glen Gulutzan said Wednesday, according to NHL.com.

To make room on the roster, defenseman Stephane Robidas was placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 19.

Lehtonen, 28, is 13-4-1 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in 19 appearances this season. His 13 wins led the NHL at the time of his injury.

"Obviously, we've been doing OK without him," Stars center Mike Ribeiro said, according to NHL.com. "You need your No. 1 goalie to win games and to make the playoffs. To have him back and rested is good for us and everyone. Obviously, he's our best goalie and best player on the team. It'll be great to have him back and have that big boy back there."

After clearing waivers, the Stars also assigned goalie Andrew Raycroft to the Texas Stars of the AHL.

These moves mean Richard Bachman will be the Stars' backup goaltender. Bachman has posted a 5-2-0 record, 2.76 goals against average and .912 save percentage in nine games since being called up to Dallas due to the injury to Lehtonen.

Lehtonen went through a full practice Tuesday.

"The first drill I wasn't too excited, but after that I settled down and started feeling very good," Lehtonen said. "It was nice. I got more shots, so that was good. We've got tomorrow and we'll see where we are at, but it was really good today. It was good to get that out of the way, the first real practice with lots of shots."

Robidas, 34, missed the last three games after suffering a lower body injury against the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 19. He has recorded 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in 32 games this season.

Information from ESPNDallas.com's Mark Stepneski was used in this report.