Golden Knights’ Peter DeBoer explains controversial decision to pitch Robin Lehner against Marc-Andre Fleury
Golden Knights fans had one question in mind for most of the team’s 7-1 loss to the Avalanche: Why is Robin Lehner replacing Marc-André Fleury?
Fleury had started all seven games of the Vegas first round against the Wild, but coach Peter DeBoer pivoted to Lehner in the net for Game 1 of the Golden Knights vs. Avalanche series.
DeBoer had his reasons for making the switch. And as the veteran coach explained, it was “the perfect opportunity” to give Fleury a break.
“The decision to go with Robin was [Fleury] just played seven games in 14 days, and an emotional 7 game, “said DeBoer, by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “It was a perfect opportunity in our mind to use our other starter. It has been a strength of ours all year. We wanted Robin to get into a match and stay sharp, in case we needed him. So there were a lot of reasons for it. “
On paper, this argument may make sense. After all, Lehner is a solid goaltender who performed well during the regular season. And Fleury is 36, so a little extra rest might help.
Even so, Lehner hadn’t played in 20 days before being on the ice on Sunday. It was always going to give him a risky start. Additionally, NHL teams tend to stick with a one-goalie approach during the playoffs, especially if they have a well-playing goalie on hand.
Fleury was certainly doing that against Minnesota. He posted a .931 save percentage and 1.71 goals against average in the first round of the playoffs while leading his team to a series victory. And in five of the seven games, Fleury has allowed two goals or less.
Plus, while Lehner performed well during the regular season, Fleury still beat him in all major statistical categories.
|Marc André-Fleury||Stat||Robin lehner|
|1.98||Goals vs. Average||2.29|
So naturally, after Lehner’s disastrous playoff debut, questions poured over DeBoer’s decision to start him. But DeBoer refused to blame Lehner for the seven goals scored.
“Tonight’s game was not about Robin Lehner,” DeBoer said. “We didn’t play well enough in front of him.”
Despite that approval, it seems inevitable that Fleury will be in between the pipes on Wednesday night when the Avalanche and Golden Knights face off in Game 2. We will then see if the full four days off will help him stay fresher against one. Colorado high-flight attack. .