Thursday, December 01, 2022

Golden Knights in final stage with goalkeeper questions

LAS VEGAS ( Associated Press) — With four games left in the regular season and the Vegas Golden Knights locked in a down-to-the-wire playoff push, the last thing they need is another goalkeeper brawl.

But after starting goaltender Robin Lehner missed practice on Friday and Saturday, the team said he was taking maintenance days and coach Peter Debauer denied any information about his veteran netminder agreeing to season-ending surgery. denied.

Lehner was drawn to rookie Logan Thompson’s side between the first and second periods during Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Washington Capitals, a move DeBoer said was designed to wake up the team and create a different vibe.

Later, DeBauer said that Lehner “is healthy, he’s fresh, he has a lot of energy and that’s what we need at this point of the year.”

Multiple reports emerged on Friday that Lehner agreed to have season-ending surgery after suffering a lower body injury in Philadelphia on March 8.

“Not to my knowledge, it was a maintenance day today. No one is in a healthy 82 game,” DeBoer said on Friday. “In my conversations with Robin and everyone involved, there was nothing physically that would stop him from going out there and performing for us. There is no red flag.”

In a rare move regarding the status of practice, the team issued a statement on Lehner taking another maintenance day on Saturday, and DeBauer opened his post-practice press conference, citing the statement and saying he was looking forward to no further maintenance. Won’t comment.

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Two years earlier, DeBoer chose Lehner as the team’s starter against three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-André Fleury. Fleury had two alternating seasons last season before assuming the starting role, but he was traded to Chicago during the offseason for a respite of $7 million in salary.

Now, at the most crucial time of the season, Vegas can go with rookie Logan Thompson for the final four games.

“I think it just depends on the day and the situation,” DeBoer said. “I think LT has done a great job coming in. I think all the decisions we are making right now are with a Game 7 mindset. We have to win and we are rolling out that lineup. We Making those personnel decisions, we’re making in-game decisions based on a Game 7 mindset.

“I think if we have to make a decision in the game that’s going to give us a better chance of winning and surviving here, that’s what we’re going to do.”

In 15 appearances (13 starts) this season, Thompson is 9-5-0 against average with 2.56 goals and .920 saving percentage. As of March 17, Thompson is 8-3-0 at average with 2.25 goals.

In one of the biggest decisions during the crucial Vegas round in the past few weeks, DeBauer introduced Thompson to Lehner’s side in Calgary in first place. Thompson made a stellar performance, stopping 35 of 36 shots in the 6-1 victory.

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“You look at other goalkeepers in the league, it happens a lot,” said Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault. “A guy who comes, is hot and gives us a chance to win a hockey game. That’s how you make your career I guess. ,

After replacing Lehner against Washington in a tie game, Thompson came up with several big saves on the way to an overtime victory, even as high-scoring Alex Ovechkin misjudged the puck at the third-period breakaway. forced to handle.

“He’s got that demeanor, he’s got a different path, he’s grinded a lot, he’s got his chance and he’s taken advantage of it,” Vegas defenseman Brayden McNab said. “Logan’s doing a great job, he’s been pretty consistent, and we believe in him.”

The main goal now is to make it to the playoffs, something the Golden Knights have done every year since entering the league in 2017. Vegas is currently two points behind Dallas for the final wild-card place and five points behind Los Angeles for third place. Pacific Division. After calling off the home portion of their schedule on Sunday against the Sharks, the Golden Knights play in Dallas on Tuesday in what could decide the final playoff spot. Vegas puts the rule-winning tiebreaker on the stars.


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