DeBoer defends Vegas choice in net after 7-1 loss

Vegas Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer isn’t second-guessing his decision to start goaltender Robin Lehner in Game 1 of the second round — despite Lehner being hung out to dry in a 7-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Sunday night in Denver.

Vegas started Marc-Andre Fleury throughout the entire first-round series against the Minnesota Wild, including Friday’s Game 7 win. Fleury posted a .931 save percentage through that series, while Lehner had not played since a regular-season game on May 10.

“The decision to go with Robin was Flower just played seven games in 14 days, and an emotional Game 7,” DeBoer said, referring to Fleury by his nickname. “It was a perfect opportunity in our minds to use our other starter. That’s been a strength of ours all year. We wanted Robin to get in a game and stay sharp, in case we needed him. So there was a lot of rationale to it.”

Vegas indeed had a quick turnaround while Colorado had a week off between games, thanks to the Avalanche’s sweep of the Blues. And it showed, as Colorado looked much fresher on home ice.

The Golden Knights allowed 14 shots on goal in the first period on Sunday, despite averaging just 9.4 shots on goal in the first period across the Minnesota series. Lehner faced 37 shots on Sunday, stopping 30.

Mark Stone said. “But we’ll be ready for Wednesday. There’s no doubt in our group.”