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Lehner out for season for Golden Knights, to have shoulder surgery

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Robin Lehner is out for the rest of the season for the Vegas Golden Knights.

The goalie will have shoulder surgery for an injury the Golden Knights said he sustained on Feb. 9, when he made 27 saves in a 6-0 loss at the Calgary Flames.

“Robin has done his best to battle through this injury,” the Golden Knights said in a statement released Monday. “We were hopeful that rest and rehab would allow him to complete the season.

“He initially rehabbed and was able to return to play March 1. At times rest and rehab were effective, but ultimately Robin, in consultation with team medical staff, determined that this is the best course of action.”

Lehner had sustained a lower-body injury against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 8 and missed 12 games before returning on April 3. He then started six of Vegas’ next eight games but was pulled after the first period of a 4-3 win against the Washington Capitals on April 20 despite allowing one goal on 13 shots.

“The decision to start [Lehner] … we pay him to start games like this,” Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. “It’s the most important time of the year. He’s healthy, he’s fresh, he’s got a lot of energy, and we need him at this point of the year. I think after that New Jersey game (25 saves in 3-2 loss on April 18), I felt like I wanted to give him the opportunity to bounce back and have a big game for us.”

There were reports Friday that Lehner needed season-ending surgery — one said it was for a lower-body injury, and one speculated it was knee-related — but he backed up Logan Thompson in a 5-4 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, when Sharks forward Timo Meier scored the tying goal with 0.9 seconds left in the third period. Lehner had missed three consecutive practices.

Thompson, a 25-year-old rookie, is expected to start for the Golden Knights at the Dallas Stars on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; BSSWX, ATTSN-RM, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Vegas (42-31-6) trails Dallas by three points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Each team has three games remaining.

Vegas would be eliminated from playoff contention with a regulation loss.

“He’s not a young goalie,” DeBoer said of Thompson after the loss to the Sharks. “He’s not a 20-year-old. He’s 25. He’s won the best goaltender in the (American Hockey League), so he’s been in situations like this where you lose, and you’ve got to bounce back the next night. ‘m not worried about him.”

Thompson is 9-5-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and one shutout in 16 games (14 starts). Lehner was 23-17-2 with a 2.83 GAA, .907 save percentage and one shutout in 44 games.

“In my conversations with Robin and everyone involved, there’s been physically that can keep him from nothing performing for us. There has been no red flags,” DeBoer said. “Nobody is healthy 82 games in. Everybody needs something. … As far as my knowledge goes, and that’s personal conversations with the player, it has not been a play issue. I’m not a doctor. It’s either he can play or can ‘t play.”

Goalie Jiri Patera was recalled from Henderson of the AHL.

NHL.com columnist Nick Cotsonika and independent correspondent Paul Delos Santos contributed to this report

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