Fleury hopes to stay with Lehner in the Golden Knights

“Our bond has grown stronger over the season. We got on really well, said Fleury. As a goalkeeper, you hope to win games, but you also want to avoid giving up too many goals. I think we’ve both done it this season. « 

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Goalies are once again the center of attention during the Golden Knights’ offseason following their elimination by the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup semi-final at the Bell Center on Thursday.

This is the second consecutive season in which Vegas has been eliminated in the third round. Again, goalies weren’t the reason for the elimination. The Golden Knights have only scored 13 goals in the series, nine of them coming from a defenseman’s bat.

The Golden Knights relied on the goaltenders, who pocket $ 12 million a season in total, to reach the all-round for the third time in four seasons in the NHL.

“It’s a privilege to play with Marc,” said Lehner. We have become much closer to each other. My few seasons here have been very special with everything that has happened. You have to appreciate the situation. I think we coped well with it all. « 

Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon was unwilling to discuss the team’s unrestricted free agent on Saturday: defenseman Alec martinez and the attackers Mattias Janmark and Tomas nosek. Finding the solution to the riddle in front of the net might help him solve this problem.

Fleury will be in the final season of a three-year, $ 21 million contract extension he signed with Vegas on July 13, 2018. Lehner, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on February 24 2020, agreed to a five-year, $ 25 million contract with the Golden Knights on Oct. 3.

« We just saw our season end a few days ago, it remains fresh in our minds, » admitted Fleury. It’s frustrating to see Montreal go to the Final thinking we could have been there. I haven’t thought too much about the future, but in my heart it has always been my intention to stay here and end my career here. « 

McCrimmon’s decision to keep both goalies for the condensed 56-game regular season paid off. Fleury and Lehner won the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goaltender (s) of the team that allowed the fewest NHL goals in the regular season (124).

“The Jennings Trophy says a lot about the success of this plan,” said McCrimmon. These two goalies have been at the center of all of the success we have had. I think it helped us in the playoffs too. We were very happy to have two such exceptional goalies.

“As for the future, our season has been over for less than 48 hours. These are things we will have to discuss as we prepare for the offseason and next season. We will deal with it when the time comes. « 

Fleury has had one of the best seasons of his NHL career, posting a 26-10-0 record with a 1.98 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. The 36-year-old Sorelois started 16 of his 17 games between February 11 and March 18, while Lehner was out with a concussion, going 11-5-0 with an average of 1, 90 and an effectiveness rate of .936 during this period.

Fleury is a finalist for the Vézina Trophy, awarded to the best goalie in the NHL, for the first time in his career.

Lehner was 13-4-2 with a 2.29 GAA and .913 save percentage.

When Lehner returned, the guards alternated the starts. Lehner was 9-0-1 in his next 10 starts, but lost three of his last four games late in the regular season.

Vegas coach Peter DeBoer started Fleury in 16 of 19 playoff games. The alternation returned from Game 4 against Montreal.

Fleury gave up three goals on 23 shots in Game 3, a 3-2 overtime loss, including a blunder behind his cage that allowed the Canadiens forward Josh Anderson to tie the game at 18:05 of the third period. Lehner started Game 4 and made 27 saves in Vegas’ 2-1 overtime win.

In Game 5, Fleury allowed three goals on 25 shots in the Canadiens’ 4-1 win at T-Mobile Arena. Lehner turned back 29 shots in the 3-2 loss in Game 6.

“I am not paid enough to take care of managing the payroll. This is Kelly and George’s task [McPhee, président des opérations hockey], DeBoer said. I can tell you that having both goalies has been a crucial part of our success this year during a unique season. It was a blessing this season. Next season will be a different story. We will no longer be in the same circumstances. « 

The Fleury-Lehner tandem has been closely monitored since the latter’s arrival in Las Vegas. Media coverage intensified in the Edmonton bubble during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, when Fleury’s agent Allan Walsh posted on his Twitter account an illustration of Fleury with a sword piercing his abdomen. , while DeBoer’s name was on the sword. Lehner started 16 of 20 Golden Knights games in the bubble.

Lehner continues to hammer out that there is no bitterness between him and Fleury, adding that Fleury’s daughters created posters and wrote letters of support for Lehner ahead of Game 6.

“My two daughters love the visual arts, as you can see. They’re creating a lot, and we were on the cusp of a big No. 6 game in Montreal, Fleury noted. They wanted to show their support and appreciation for Robin with their art. I thought they were great. « 

Their future as teammates remains uncertain, but the respect between them is evident.

“To me, ‘Flower’ is as legendary as it is to yours,” said Lehner.

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