The Vegas Golden Knights are coming off a desperately needed 4-3 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday but potentially have gotten some terrible news just two days later.
Lehner played just one period against the Caps before being replaced by Logan Thompson.
The Swedish goaltender suffered a major knee injury in Philadelphia on March 8, missed almost a month of action, and then tried to play through the pain to this point.
It seems like Vegas head coach Pete DeBoer was either not yet informed of Lehner’s decision to shut it down this season or just toed the regular NHL head coach line of not revealing a lot about injuries. When asked about the situation by Danny Webster of the Las Vegas Sun, he replied “not to my knowledge” and said that he believed Lehner was just taking a maintenance day and would be on the ice for practice Saturday. Ergo, the third option here is that the reports could also prove inaccurate.
DeBoer gave a similarly confusing response to the media when asked about why he pulled Lehner against the Caps. In the response, he specifically mentions the goaltender as being “healthy”.
“The decision to start him, we pay him to start games like this,” he remarked. “It’s the most important time of the year. He’s healthy, he’s fresh. He’s got a lot of energy and we need him at this point. So, I think after the New Jersey game, I felt like I wanted to give him the opportunity to bounce back and have a big game for us. The decision to change, I thought I really liked our start. We gave up that first goal and I felt like we looked like we were rattled as a team the rest of the period. It was just to try and switch some momentum, reset ourselves, and get ready for the rest of the game.”
The bench boss has been at times highly critical of the play of his netminder this season.
Pete DeBoer on Robin Lehner tonight- “This time of year you’re looking for your guy to be better than the guy at the other end. That wasn’t the case.”
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) April 19, 2022
In 44 appearances in the 2021-22 campaign, Lehner has amassed a 23-17-2 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. Vegas as a team still sits two points out of the last Wild Card spot in the Western Conference and five points out of third place in the Pacific Division.
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