THW’s Goalie News: Pacific Race & Hurricanes Update

Tuesday was a very busy night with 20 teams in action across the National Hockey League. The top two teams in the Pacific Division got a pair of big-time performances from their goaltenders. Plus, we got an injury update out of Carolina.

Lehner Blanks Devils for First Shutout

When the Vegas Golden Knights acquired Robin Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 24, they weren’t getting a traditional backup for Marc-Andre Fleury. Rather, they were acquiring a goaltender to work in tandem with the future Hall of Famer.

Lehner was spectacular on Tuesday night in a 3-0 shutout of the New Jersey Devils. Playing in his 300th NHL game, he stopped all 27 shots he faced to pick up his first shutout of the season. It was his first shutout since April 6, 2019, against the Washington Capitals when he was a member of the New York Islanders.

Robin Lehner Vegas Golden Knights
Lehner picked up his first shutout in nearly a year. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“I have plenty of confidence in myself,” Lehner said after the game. “They traded for me here for a reason, and I’m just doing my best. It’s a great opportunity playing with [Marc-Andre] Fleury. I got the same opportunity with [Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey] Crawford and a bunch of other goalies throughout my career and I’m just trying to do the best with the opportunities I’m going to get.”

Lehner has won both of his starts with the Golden Knights, giving up just two goals and posting a .967 save percentage (SV%).

The Golden Knights have won nine of their last 10 games and remain in first place of the Pacific Division by two points.

Koskinen Comes Up Big for Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers needed a big performance out of their backup on Tuesday night in order to keep pace with the Golden Knights and remain just two points behind them. That is exactly what they got out of Mikko Koskinen in Dallas as he made 42 saves to beat the Stars 2-1 in overtime.

Koskinen was under heavy fire early on as he faced 31 shots during the first and second periods. His only blemish came when he gave up a power-play goal early in the third period.

Edmonton Oilers Mikko Koskinen
Koskinen was a busy man on Tuesday night. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

“Outstanding,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who played in his 600th NHL game, said of Koskinen’s big night. “From the first period on, he held us in there when we probably weren’t playing our best. On a back-to-back, you need your goalie to step up and he definitely did that.”

This the fourth time this season where Koskinen made at least 42 saves in a game. The Oilers are 2-2-0 in those contests.

Mrazek, Reimer Injury Updates

Everybody loved the story of David Ayres, the Zamboni driver who beat the Toronto Maple Leafs back on Feb. 22. However, the Carolina Hurricanes are 0-2-1 since losing both Petr Mrazek and James Reimer to injury.

General manager Don Waddell provided an update on both his injured netminders on Tuesday. Mrazek, who is dealing with a concussion, is 7-10 days away from returning to game action. He confirmed that Reimer should return from his lower-body injury shortly after that.

Petr Mrazek Carolina Hurricanes
Mrazek will be out for at least another week. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“Both making progress,” Waddell told reporters. “Mrazek is ahead of Reimer. He’s starting to go on the ice and probably will start to see pucks in the next day or so. By the weekend, [Reimer] will be on the ice, we believe, and from there it’s just how fast he progresses.”

Anton Forsberg (two starts) and Alex Nedeljkovic (one start) have a combined .874 SV% in consecutive losses to the Stars, Colorado Avalanche and Montreal Canadiens.

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