On Monday night, the Vegas Golden Knights suffered perhaps its most frustrating loss of the season, as they fell to the lowly New Jersey Devils by a 3-2 final with Robin Lehner in net.
The star of the night in this one was Devils goalie Andrew Hammond, who kicked aside 42 of the 44 shots fired his way. Having said that, it was an extremely frustrating effort for the Golden Knights, as Hammond is a 34-year-old netminder who has spent the majority of his career in the American Hockey League. Nonetheless, he deserves props for the big performance for the Devils, as well as outdueling Robin Lehner on the night.
For Lehner, it was another rough game in what has been a disappointing season. Through 43 games, he owns a 2.83 goals against average along with a .907 save percentage, and that underwhelming play continued on Monday, as he allowed three goals on 28 shots. After the game, head coach Pete DeBoer didn’t mince words when it came to his thoughts on his goaltender’s performance.
“This time of year you’re looking for your guy to be better than the guy at the other end,” DeBoer said. “That wasn’t the case.”
While the opening goal of the game that came off the stick of Nathan Bastian can’t be blamed on Lehner, he should have made saves on both the second and third goals he allowed. The second came as a result of a brutal rebound on a puck that was sailing well over the net that he attempted to glove down but failed to hold onto. The third was perhaps even worse, as he failed to even move as Jesper Boqvist sent a shot through his five hole. It was one of the stranger goals that has been scored in the entire NHL this season, as it appeared he simply didn’t have his eyes on the puck.
With the loss, the Golden Knights remain three points behind the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division, as well as four points behind both the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars for the wild card positions. With just five games remaining, they will need to do their best to win out if they hope to get into the postseason.
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