In his second start as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights, Robin Lehner sent the fans home happy with a 3-0 win against the New Jersey Devils.
Based on all of the change he encountered by coming to Vegas from the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline, it would've been understandable for any player to take time getting used to his surroundings. Lehner wasted no time and picked up his second win in as many games for the VGK and made his mark on his new city.
Video: NJD@VGK: Lehner blanks Devils in 300th NHL game
Analysis from VGK Analyst Mike McKenna
It may not have been Robin Lehner's first game between the pipes for the Golden Knights, but it's certainly his most memorable to date. In just his second start, Lehner posted a 27-save shutout, leading the team to a 3-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils.
When a goaltender goes to a new team, the expectation of a seamless transition is often wishful thinking. Lehner himself said it would take some time to adjust to a new system, teammates, and coaching staff. But if he'd had any trouble acclimating, Lehner did a nice job of hiding it. In his first start for the VGK, he stopped 34-of-36 while still wearing his old equipment from the Chicago Blackhawks.
The next time out - against the Devils - Lehner was clad head-to-toe in custom black and gold Vegas Golden Knights equipment that had arrived just that morning. In other words: right out of the box. No break-in period. Lehner just strapped 'em on and went for it.
No, that isn't normal. Most goalies take a week or so to break in equipment before it's game ready. They'll wear it for a few practice sessions, adjust strapping, and mold it to their preference. Robin Lehner was no different in that regard: when he arrived in Vegas, he expected the break-in period for his new equipment to be several days.
That didn't happen. When the new gear arrived, it looked so good that Lehner had the confidence to wear it that night, an unprecedented step for someone who once personally removed foam from the boot of his pads to make them more flexible.
So much of goaltending is confidence; how a player looks and feels in the crease plays a huge role. Playing in mis-matched gear never feels right: goalies want to fit in as soon as possible after a trade and getting new gear might be the biggest part of the mental transition.
When Robin Lehner skated onto the ice March 3, he looked like a Golden Knight, and what happened next was magic: Lehner stopped all 27 shots. It was his first shutout for the VGK (30th all-time for the franchise) in his 300th NHL game. His demeanor oozed confidence. And the result was Panda Perfect.