Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer's decision to start Lehner on Sunday drew plenty of criticism. He played in just one prior game this postseason and got burned for seven goals on 37 shots, while fellow netminder Marc-Andre Fleury was solid aside from his Game 3 blunder.
Lehner, who's fairly active on social media, turned in a marvelous 27-save outing in Vegas' 2-1 overtime win and thanked his haters for the motivation.
"Not many people know I come to the game four hours early," Lehner told reporters. "I get my own bus, I come four hours early. I sat for two hours and watched you guys talk shit on Twitter on me to get me motivated. It was great, just to see all what you guys had to say, I don't care what people think."
He also chimed in on Twitter after his press conference.
The Habs won the high-danger-scoring chance battle by an astounding 18-1 margin, according to Natural Stat Trick. DeBoer said he knew his goaltender was capable of such a heroic effort.
"He was excellent. I knew he'd be good. A lot of things went into it," DeBoer said postgame, according to NHL.com's Danny Webster.
"We wouldn't be here without Flower," he added, noting that Fleury's gaffe in Game 3 "had nothing to do" with the decision. "Knowing Lenny, the gamble to play him was no bigger than playing a fatigued goalie with no rest on the horizon."
Lehner posted a .913 save percentage and a 2.29 goals-against average in 19 regular-season contests. The Golden Knights rotated Lehner and Fleury every other game during the campaign when both netminders were healthy. The duo shared the Wiliam M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league.
The series, which is now tied 2-2, shifts back to Sin City for Game 5 on Tuesday, and Lehner is almost certainly bound to get the starting nod once again.
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