Strained groin sidelines Thrashers' Lehtonen

Updated: October 19, 2007, 9:37 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- The Thrashers placed goalie Kari Lehtonen on injured reserve Friday after he hurt his groin in Atlanta's first win of the season.

Kari Lehtonen

Lehtonen

Goaltender
Atlanta Thrashers

Profile

2008 Season Stats
GM W L T SV% GAA
6 0 4 0 .879 4.48

The previous night, Lehtonen left a 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers with 8½ minutes left in the first period. The team said he strained his groin, but in a different area than a similar injury that kept him out for more than two months in 2005.

"Certainly, he'll be out a while," said general manager Don Waddell, who also is serving as Atlanta's interim coach.

Johan Hedberg will take over as the No. 1 goalie, and Atlanta called up 20-year-old Ondrej Pavelec from Chicago of the AHL . He was a second-round pick in the 2005 draft and turned pro this season, winning his first two starts for the Wolves. He had a 1.49 goals-against average and .935 save percentage.

The Thrashers also have former NHL goalie Fred Brathwaite at Chicago.

"You hate to see a goalie ever get hurt," Waddell said. "But we're very fortunate to have other goalies who can come up."

The Thrashers (1-6) play next at Tampa Bay on Saturday, beginning a seven-game road stretch.

Lehtonen played only 38 games in the 2005-06 season, missing 2½ months because of a groin injury. He passed up a chance to play for his native Finland in the 2006 Torino Olympics and trained extensively the next summer to build up his muscles.

Last season, Lehtonen played a career-high 68 games for the Thrashers, helping them win the Southeast Division and make the playoffs for the first time. He was off to a slow start this season along with the rest of the struggling team: 0-4 with a 4.49 GAA and .879 save percentage in five games.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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