The Minnesota Wild scored three unanswered goals on Robin Lehner in the third period to beat the Vegas Golden Knights 6-5 on Monday night.
Vegas appeared to be in the driver’s seat after 40 minutes of play, leading 5-3 in a back-and-forth game. But the entire game was one where no one could rest easy and the Wild came charging back with three goals in the final half of the period, including two goals 26 seconds apart in the final two minutes.
With the regulation loss, Vegas blew an important chance to all but put a bow on the Honda West Division title, and now give the Minnesota Wild an outside shot at first place with five games remaining for each team.
Goaltending – D-
Robin Lehner was terrible. There’s no other way to put it. He couldn’t control rebounds. If he went down, he was out of the play for the next three to five seconds. When he did move, he had to roll over and get up slowly. NHL goaltenders do not do that. They scramble back up. Peewee goalies have to roll over to get back up. At one point in the second period, he actually conceded a loose puck at the side of the net – meaning if the Wild had gotten to it, it was going in and he was not going to make an effort at the save. Lehner’s compete level was awful. He had no interest in scrambling for pucks or second-effort saves. It has me wondering if he’s seriously playing through an injury, but if he’s not there’s real room for concern. If Fleury makes this start, the Golden Knights leave Minnesota with their two points and their groceries.
Defense – C-
Not much better defensively as the Golden Knights struggled to contain the Wild offense. That said, they did bail out Lehner on several occasions or believe it or not, it would have been worse.
Forwards – B-
At least the VGK forwards were able to score goals. They also scored the goals in all kinds of ways, from takeaways to the power play. Five goals should be enough on any night. It wasn’t this evening.
Special Teams – A
The power play goes 1-for-3 and the penalty kill is perfect on two chances against, so no complaints here.
- I cannot get over how bad Robin Lehner was. He’s slow, unaware and plodding. Minnesota could have scored a lot more goals if it weren’t for the defense. Again, it looks like either he is hurt somewhere in his lower body or his core, or he just has given up. Either way it’s not good.
- This is the first time in franchise history the Vegas Golden Knights have scored five goals in a game and lost.
- Once again, the Golden Knights failed to win in Minnesota. They’ve only done it once two years ago, and that took a shootout. They’ve never won in regulation or OT in the State of Hockey.
- Congratulations to Peyton Krebs, who recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Alex Tuch’s first period goal.
- Vegas has to bounce back Wednesday when they face the Wild again.
- Mark Stone hinted at it in the post-game, but it sounds like Ryan Reaves will be back patrolling things soon and it will make a difference in what turned out to be a chippy game.