Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen was on the ice for full practice today and said he’s ready to get back into the lineup after missing a little more than three games.

Lehtonen left in the first period against Los Angeles April 9 with a sore groin, and then missed the next three starts. Richard Bachman was wonderful in his stead, going 3-1-0, but now it’s time for Lehtonen to get back in.

The big Finn had started 19 straight games, so it might actually be good that he took some time off and got some practice time in.

“I played a lot of games there in a row. Hopefully it was good to get a little time off,” Lehtonen said. “We have a few games left and I am even more excited now to play. We’re in a good spot and trying to climb into the playoffs.”

Lehtonen is 14-11-2 on the season with a 2.67 GAA and .916 save percentage. He will likely play both Thursday at home againt Vancouver and on the road Friday at St. Louis. In fact, he’ll probably start the remaining six games if he’s healthy and the Stars are still in the playoff race.

“These are the exciting times,” Lehtonen said. “There’s so much on the line every night. It’s fun to be a hockey player right now.”

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said he expects a lot of battle from Lehtonen.

“He’s very quietly competitive,” Gulutzan said. “He’s an elite talent, a competitive guy, he has a strong desire to `part the seas,’ so to speak. He wants to make sure he gets this thing done. His health has improved dramtically in the last three days, and I know he has the ability to take this team where it needs to go.”

Trevor Daley missed practice with an upper body injury, and might miss Thursday’s game. Jordie Benn has been with the team for a while and would step in if Daley can’t go.

“He has a little upper body thing, but we are hoping he’ll be able to go tomorrow,” Gulutzan said of Daley. “He’s had two days off. He’d be a day-to-day guy, but there is a good chance he is going to go tomorrow.”