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