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Continuing Goalie Rotation Into Real Playoffs “On The Table” For DeBoer

Since the Golden Knights acquired Robin Lehner, he and Marc-Andre Fleury have been in a straight goalie rotation. Through seven regular-season games, an exhibition game, two round-robin games, and a third tomorrow, Vegas has alternated goalies in each and every game.

There’s nothing abnormal about a goalie rotation in today’s NHL… during the regular season. But once teams get to the playoffs, historically (and by that I mean every team ever) teams select one goalie as a starter and he remains in the net until he loses it. Very rarely do teams change goalies off wins and even more rarely do they use both goalies multiple times in the same playoff series.

However, with the oddity that is the 2020 playoffs and the Golden Knights success in swapping goalies every night, there’s a legitimate argument to be made that it should continue into the first round.

DeBoer has intimated since the team returned to action that his plan was to go the normal route and select a starter after the round-robin, but when I asked him if he’s considering sticking with the rotation following tomorrow’s game, his answer was far more non-committal, indicating it’s a real option they’re examining.

I think everything’s on the table. It’s such a unique year, such a unique format. I’ve already heard there’s going to be some back-to-backs in the early rounds of the playoffs which typically you never got so for me everything’s on the table in that regard. -Pete DeBoer

In the 10 games since acquiring Lehner, the Golden Knights are 8-2-0 overall with Lehner posting a perfect 4-0-0 record and Fleury coming in at 4-2-0. Lehner has allowed eight goals in his four games while Fleury has given up 15 in his six.

On paper, a playoff goalie rotation could offer some unique benefits, especially considering the contrasting styles of the Golden Knights’ two goalies. But, without teams trying it in the past, there’s no true evidence that those benefits will actually hold true.

It’s worked so far for the Golden Knights, but are they willing to be the team that breaks the mold?

The option is on the table, we’ll see if DeBoer picks it up.

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13 Comments

  1. Doktor Hockey

    IF panda plays well Saturday, he WILL start the POs! Flower’s age is starting to show in his flip-flop style. He just doesn’t have the same agility to make that work any more. Panda is much calmer in his style and will rarely take himself out of position as flower did last night. So unless panda has a melt-down, the rotation scheme is OVER. (at lease for now)!

  2. Why do we get no props from announcer’s and analysts its all
    Colorado. Very little talk about an VGK ??

  3. Julie

    It seems to me that Fleury, even with not his best year, still did well enough with the team to get to the playoffs. Three years in a row, and not much help from Subban, and Lehner had only 3 games before this covid stuff. So even if Lehner is picked to start, I see it that Fleury handled it to the playoffs and Lehner should take care of business to win. They played Fleury like dog for 3 years. I bet he’s a little tired, yes older, and maybe ready to see another goalie help the team. He doesn’t seem selfish. I believe the Colorado game tomorrow will decide it. But Fleury has done a remarkable job in these 3 years. Hearts are with Fleury even if the brains want someone fresher.

    So, I will be consulting all oracles to see how well it should go.

  4. Tim

    Look at it this way looking ahead to 2020-2021 season does anyone see Fleury and a rethread backup leading us to the Stanley Cup? Not a snowballs chance in hell so it’s a given we will resign Lehner and hopefully we can work it out to keep Fleury as the backup. For this playoff season it’s a tough call because the team loves Flower but business is business and I believe they’ll go with Lehner.

  5. Just an observation while l see everyone”s logic and understand , if you recall the star’s game l think lehner let in the first three shots. I might be wrong but close as the way the knights were playing it wasn’t particular a thrilling game. Flower performance last night was marginal at best. As l recall he experienced similar issues in Pittsburgh. There is nothing to say either could start and be pulled. Not ideal but certainly a option and it would not be a first for PDB. He is going to do whatever is necessary to win love affairs aside. I am certain he would never stand by and let 4 goals be sclored like happened yr 2 with Turk. It’s going to be interesting to say the least.

  6. Tom McCarthy 30

    I dont think you are the hottest coach and feel lehner is to slow.
    The flower has got the knights where they are. He is better than lehner.
    Lets have some loyalty.
    Maybe the knights need a new coach.
    What did you do for the sharks?

    • I agree turk got screwed here dont know who disliked him but ridiculous fire. MAF is well liked by team mates deserves to start playoffs and keep playing.

    • Not sure who you were replying to, but you were right below mine. No one has said Turk was a bad coach and l don’t believe l said so. How he was dismissed was questionable and in poor taste but that’s business. Flowers performance was marginal for during blues game l don’t think that’s debatable was lehner a shining star for stars game no but again they one. So whoever starts the playoff will have to be at their best otherwise a switch will be necessary. Not all teams have that luxury so vegas is fortunate.

  7. EL Scott

    The last game wasn’t Flower’s best statistically but the D has to take some responsibility for those grade A chances they gave up. He was a bit out of position on the wrap around but so was everyone else. I agree that Panda is a beast but I still think it should be Flower’s job to lose if they’re gonna name a starter. Why not break the mold and share the load with two #1 goalies? It would certainly give opposing teams more to prepare for when playing VGK.

  8. Doktor Hockey

    Listen guys, you just can’t let emotions lead you. No question Panda is the better pick at this time. Todays game will decide if Panda gets the nod. It’s HIS job to lose!!!!!

  9. Peter Deboooooor! Mr excitement.

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