Vegas head coach Pete DeBoer assured the change in net between games three and four had nothing to do with Marc-Andre Fleury’s hiccup late in the previous outing against Montreal, but the decision proved to be the right one as Robin Lehner stepped up and stopped 27-of-28 shots Sunday to help the Golden Knights top the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in OT.
Lehner’s warm up routine was unusual.
He rode the team bus alone to the game well before puck drop and spent a majority of the time responding to his critics on Twitter.
“People act like I’m not very good, especially in our town,” Lehner told ESPN. “It was very enjoyable on Twitter today. Thank you very much for giving me that motivation.”
He also thanked the media for starting controversy regarding the decision to start him over Fleury and said it fueled his performance.
DeBoer will have to make another tough choice for game five as the series returns to Las Vegas tied at 2-2.
The game itself remained a stalemate for nearly two periods with both goalies showcasing elite play.
Montreal’s defense has given Vegas’ top lines fits all series. Then, there’s also the magnificent Carey Price awaiting any shots in the net.
Price stopped 19-of-21 shots.
Montreal’s Paul Byron broke the stalemate late in the second period.
Vegas would respond in the third period with a nice two-man play between defensemen Shea Theodore and Brayden McNabb.
Theodore swept behind the net and found the streaking McNabb, who lifted the game-tying shot over Price’s shoulder.
The teams would exchange blows for the remainder of the third period before OT.
OT would not last for long as Vegas blitzed Montreal sending a flurry of shots and passes to the net before center Nic Roy patiently recouped the puck and fired it over the top of a falling Price for the game-winner.
It was Lehner’s first win of the 2021 postseason in two starts.