LAS VEGAS (AP) – As the Vegasenter the home stretch, coach Peter DeBoer could find himself in another goaltending quandary. When the NHL season resumed in the bubble last season, DeBoer named Robin Lehner the starter over Marc-Andre Fleury, the franchise’s face since it entered the league in 2017 and the goalie who led the team to the Stanley in that inaugural season. This season, the could lead to another tough call.
As Fleury moved into sole possession oflist after making 20 saves and earning career victory No. 485 in the Golden Knights’ 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, it over Fleury’s last eight starts. “It was nice to get him some (goals),” said Max Pacioretty, who scored his team-leading 21st goal in the win. “It was one of those things where it felt like every other well, and it just happened to fall on Flower’s games. It’s in your mind; you want to go out there and score some goals for him.”
Fleury, whofrom a concussion on March 19, has received 16 support goals in that span, including just one goal in five of those eight starts. In Lehner’s seven starts over the same timeframe, the Knights have scored 32 goals, including four or more goals in six games, for an average of 4.57 goals per game. Lehner is 6-0-1 in those games.
“I think defensively you can play differently in front of different guys; Ithere’s any doubt about that,” DeBoer said. “But as far as our offensive production and support for either guy and what we’re doing offensively, sheer coincidence that we just haven’t scored the night’s Flower’s been in there lately.”
Until Wednesday, when the Golden Knights’ six goals were Fleury’s most significant goal support of the season.
“I knew it was going to come at some point,” Fleury said. “The game’s a little more relaxed when we get all those goals.” Fleury (19-10) is 9-10 when theprovide three or fewer support goals this season and 10-0 when they’ve scored four or more on his behalf.
But Lehner’s surge since the third concussion of his career has seen him produce a 1.84 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. Fleury has a 2.66 goals-against average and a .902 save share over the same period. Fleury, who has remained in the conversation as a Vezina Trophy candidate, ranks third among netminders with at least 20 starts with a season-long goals-against average of 2.09 and a .925 save percentage. Lehner (9-1-2) ranks 11th with a 2.31 goals-against average and 21st with a .914 save percentage among goaltenders with a minimum of 12 starts this .
DeBoer maintains he doesn’t have a starter or backup but a “1A” and “1B” goalie. Still, he has also said that Fleury was the best overall player coming out of training camp on multiple occasions this. He looked sharper than he did during the camp held after the league’s pandemic shutdown.
In 16in the bubble last season, Lehner was 9-7 with a 1.99 goals-against average and .917 save percentage after facing 386 shots (24.1 per game). In Fleury’s four playoff starts, he was 3-1 with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage after facing 100 shots (25 per game).
In three postseasons with the, Fleury is 19-12 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. DeBoer and Pacioretty were emphatic there is no correlation between the lack of goal . DeBoer is confident his team is on the verge of returning to playing its best hockey, as it was when it 10-2-1 and reeled off 12 wins in 14 games shortly after.
“I think we’re healthy, and we’ve got through the. “This is when you want to play your best hockey; it’s important down the stretch here. We’ve still got some work to do, I think special teams obviously, but we’re of year.”
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