Robin Lehner is attempting to revive his NHL career at what should be its mid-stage while refining his technique and being courageously forthcoming about the personal battles that have stood in the way.
So, after waiting out the first two games of the regular season to make his official Islanders debut, there is surely no better outcome than a 35-save shutout in front of his new home fans against one of the toughest teams in the league.
Turns out Lehner is the first Islanders goalie to earn a shutout in his team debut.
The Isles withstood a hairy but scoreless first period, turned play around in the second while notching an Anders Lee power play goal to take a 1-0 lead, then steadily pulled away with three more goals in the third as Lehner made 16 saves to seal this milestone.
Lee’s goal was from his office, after another thread-the-needle setup by Mathew Barzal. Just look at Barzal attack the defender without a stick, just the way you’re always pleading for the puckhandler to do:
Scott Mayfield, making his season debut as well as the Case Against Sbisa in an effective pairing with Thomas Hickey, scored five minutes into the third period to give them breathing room. Then the checkers potted two more.
Matt Martin, completely uncovered in the low slot after a nifty Valtteri Filppula takeaway, scored his first since returning to the team...
Casey Cizikas, with his first since their reunion, finished the afternoon with a shorthanded empty-netter.
The Isles don’t play again until Saturday, a rematch with the Predators who beat them 4-3 on Saturday night. After the season’s initial burst of three games, hey now have a few days to work on things before the schedule picks up again.
#Isles captain Anders Lee on the team's defensive structure: "You can tell it’s there. Every guy takes pride in it, the guys on the ice and the goalie. Everybody is pulling the rope right now."— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) October 8, 2018
And, some good vibes to enjoy. Good vibes.
Fans, Lehner React
Trotz: Everyone’s supporting everyone else
On Lehner: “He was tight. He played big, he wasn’t reaching for stuff.”
Trotz on Lehner: "I was happy for him. He's made such a big commitment in so many areas of his life and the way he's changing his game with (goalie coach) Piero (Greco). I was happy for him, and I think the guys were too." #Isles— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) October 8, 2018