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Team Grey (Lehner) Wins Monday's Simulated Game 4-1

July 21, 2020, 1:46 PM ET [0 Comments]
Jeff Paul
Vegas Golden Knights Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

In a refreshing change from their typical practice session format, the Golden Knights approached Monday's session as if it were a game day. The players took the ice for warmups before a two-period scrimmage game.

With 30-plus skaters in camp, there were ample bodies to ice two full-ish teams, Team Grey (Robin Lehner) and Team White (Marc-Andre Fleury). There were many takeaways from the scrimmage game, but I narrowed down the list to my Top Five. Go ahead and read them, accept them, love them.

The Details:

Before I get too far ahead of myself, here are the teams and injury updates.

Team Grey:
Marchessault - Stastny - Smith
Carrier - Nosek - Reaves
Schuldt - Brown - Kolesar

McNabb - Schmidt
Holden - Whitecloud


Team White:
Cousins - Karlsson - Stone
Stephenson - Roy - Tuch
Duke - Krebs - Quinney

Martinez - Theodore
Merrill - Engelland
Hague - Bischoff


Unfit to Participate: Max Pacioretty

Team Grey won the game by a score of 4-1 with an empty-net goal padding their lead. Now it really is time for my Top Five takeaways.

Lack of Roster Battles:

Barring an ungodly final week of practice for any specific player and/or injury, the Golden Knights have a lineup set in stone. While many teams have roster decisions to make, the Golden Knights are ready to roll with the lineup that got them to the dance.

With the absence of Max Pacioretty, Nick Cousins slid up the lineup and Tomas Nosek once again cracked the Top 12. When their leading goal-scorer returns to the lineup, they will almost assuredly continue rolling the following lines:

Pacioretty - Karlsson - Stone
Marchessault - Stastny - Smith
Stephenson - Roy - Tuch
Carrier - Cousins - Reaves

McNabb - Schmidt
Martinez - Theodore
Holden - Whitecloud

Goalie 1
Goalie 2

Both teams had good legs under them, something Head Coach Pete DeBoer spoke to multiple times this week in our Zoom interviews. When asked about how ready his team was, DeBoer didn't mince words.

"They really overexceeded my expectations. They worked their asses off."

Despite the predictability of their lineup, there are two major questions for the Golden Knights.

- Which one of their two elite goaltenders WILL carry the load?
- Which one of their two elite goaltenders SHOULD carry the load?

Goaltending Surplus:

By trading for Robin Lehner on Trade Deadline Day, Kelly McCrimmon and the Golden Knights created a deadly netminding tandem. Fleury has multiple Stanley Cups under his belt while Lehner is as steady as they come. Both goalies are elite, but play the game extremely differently.

Lehner is cool, calm, and collected in goal. His movements are precise and his angles are impeccable. The yin to his yang, Fleury is an athletic goaltender who plays a more aggressive and therefore risky game. Diving poke checks desperation saves have become a staple of Fleury's game. As fun as it is to watch, he has been rescued by goaltending defensemen like Brayden McNabb and Jon Merrill, far too often.

Phase Three has been the Lehner era. He has been impeccable in drills and the post-practice scrimmages. Multiple scrimmages have come and gone with Lehner's net untouched. He gave up one goal, to the unlikeliest of shooters on Monday, on his way to the 4-1 win.

In my opinion, Lehner should be THE guy, but Fleury will be the first guy up. It's his net until he gives it away to the younger, steadier Lehner and I can't argue the philosophy. After all, Fleury has been to the playoffs just about every season since 1942.

Until Coach DeBoer shows something different, expect to see a healthy dose of both tendies. You can't really go wrong with either and if you did, the other guy will certainly be ready and willing to go.

Unlikely Goal Scorers:

Five goals were scored in the scrimmage, with three coming from defensemen. Any normal person would automatically assume they came from the trio of Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt, and Alec Martinez.


Deryk Engelland was the lone player to beat Lehner. Yes, the same guy that scored one lonely goal in 49 games played. Brayden McNabb whipped a wrist shot from the point through Fleury. He had a whopping two goals in 71 games. Nick Holden rounded out the goal-scoring defensemen with an empty-net alley-oop. His six goals in 61 games this season make him the prolific scorer of the bunch.

Mark Stone is Very Good:

That's about all you can say. The highest paid player on the team shows up to play. He gives a full 200-foot effort, even in scrimmages. Stone's offense and defense are noticeable and he may very well be the captain of this club at the start of the next regular season, whenever that may be.

Paul Stastny's Still Got It:

One of the elder statesmen of the group, Paul Stastny has looked really good in camp. He seems to have good legs under him and continues to thrive between Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith.

He and William Karlsson swapped wingers upon Karlsson's return from injury this spring. The move has worked well for all six men, with Stastny and Smith tallying goals on Monday morning. Supplemented by their newly created third line (Stephenson - Roy - Tuch), the Golden Knights are frighteningly deep up front.

The team will continue to practice for heading to "The Bubble" in Edmonton for their first and only exhibition game on July 31. After that game with the Coyotes, they will play three tough games against the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and Dallas Stars.

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