The Vegas Golden Knights appear to be making a change in net for Game Four of their semifinal series against the Montreal Canadiens. After dropping Games Two and Three, with starter Marc-Andre Fleury not looking sharp, all signs point toward Robin Lehner taking over tonight. Lehner was in the starter’s net at morning skate and was also the first to leave the ice, typical indications that he will be getting the nod. While head coach Peter DeBoer would not confirm his starter, several sources including The Athletic’s Jesse Granger, have done so for him.
There is some reason to believe that this is perhaps gamesmanship by the Knights and that Lehner may not start tonight. He has only played once in the playoffs – a disastrous Game One start to the West Division Final against the Colorado Avalanche – and has only played four times total in the past 50 days. In those four appearances, Lehner has allowed 18 goals and posted an .843 save percentage. Lehner only played in 19 games total in the regular season and while his numbers are strong, they tailed off toward the end of the year.
With that said, Lehner is just one year removed from a stellar season postseason that earned him a long-term extension with Vegas. After being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks, he won all three of his regular season starts with a .940 save percentage and 1.67 GAA. He followed that up with 16 playoff starts in which he posted a .917 save percentage and 1.99 GAA. The Golden Knight’s exit from the playoffs was wholly unrelated to the play they received from Lehner. If there is any chance that he can provide that caliber of play again, especially with Fleury looking flustered at times of late and facing a pivotal Game Four, this move makes plenty of sense for Vegas. They have two No. 1 goalies, may as well use both.