Coach Peter DeBoer said he gave the 2019 Jennings Trophy winner the nod over Marc-Andre Fleury based on Lehner’s play since his arrival in a trade-deadline deal from Chicago.
“The best way I can explain it, how I came to the decision, it wasn’t what Flower didn’t do. It’s what Robin has done since he got here,” DeBoer said per NHL.com’s Tracey Myers.
The 29-year-old — who signed a one-year, $5-million contract with the Blackhawks last summer — put up a .903 save percentage, 2.89 goals-against average and two wins in two round-robin starts for the Golden Knights.
He also recorded .940 SVV% and 1.67 GAA in three winning starts for Vegas before the NHL hit pause on its season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He finished the 2019-20 season with a .918 SVV% and 3.01 GAA.
Lehner said Saturday it will be “fun” facing his old Chicago teammates.
“They’re a good hockey team and I have lot of respect for them, the whole organization,” he told reporters.
Fleury, 35, gave up four goals in 17 shots in his lone round-robin start, an Aug. 6 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
The three-time Stanley Cup winner struggled in 2019-20, posting his worst season SVV%-wise since 2009-10 (.905) and a 2.77 GAA for the Pacific Division-winning Golden Knights.