Following an agonizing road trip that saw the Golden Knights go winless in five games, Pete DeBoer and the VGK coaching staff had a crucial decision to make upon returning home.
Having received below-average goaltending from both Laurent Brossoit and Logan Thompson on the trip, a strong argument could have been made for either goalie to get the call against the Florida Panthers. Vegas ultimately went with Thompson and it paid off with a 5-3 win over the best team in the Eastern Conference.
This is a big win for the goalie deparment. I know I haven’t been great, and every goalie coach in their mom’s basement has let me know that. -Logan Thompson
One such critic, though I’m fairly certain he doesn’t live in his mom’s basement, was DeBoer himself. Following the Columbus game and then again after the loss in Winnipeg, DeBoer did everything but outwardly blame the goaltending for the losses. Here’s one such of those comments.
I thought the guys came and worked their asses off tonight for 60 mins. We’re in that spot where we need everything firing on all cylinders. Our goalie has to be good, special teams, and 5-on-5 all have to be good. If one of those is off we’re not going to win and that’s the case. -DeBoer
So even after a win over Florida, it wasn’t clear Thompson had curried enough favor to hang on to the net for the immediate and/or interim future. That was put to rest with both the decision to start him again against Los Angles and the comments from DeBoer postgame.
On the decision to start (Thompson), it was easy. We have to win games. If you look at our records recently, if you want to play this time of year you have to find a way to win games. -DeBoer
Brossoit had one just one of his previous eight starts, and clearly DeBoer had seen enough. With Robin Lehner remaining on the shelf, he handed the job to Thompson and it appears it’s now his until Lehner is ready to return or he gives DeBoer reason to change his mind.
I’ve said before that starts are hard to come by in this league and for Pete to give me this opportunity, I didn’t want to let him down or let the team down. so it was huge but it’s over now and I’ve just got to keep building from it. -Thompson
Next up for the Golden Knights is a back-to-back in Minnesota and Winnipeg. Normally, Vegas uses both available goalies in two-games-in-two-nights scenarios, but with they haven’t been afraid to run a guy back out in both when the situation calls for it.
Thompson will almost certainly get the first game against the Wild and his performance will likely dictate the starter for the game against the Jets. This is, of course, if there’s not a move involving a goalie before tomorrow’s trade deadline at noon.
No matter how you slice it though, it appears it’s Logan Thompson’s time, and the Golden Knights’ season may rest on how well it goes.