Kukla's Korner

The Sabres Observer

Lehner Off To Good Start

Sure, Sabres fans and media have good reason to talk about the strong performances in last night's 3-2 preseason win over Ottawa by Derek Grant (1 goal, 2 assists) and Nicholas Baptiste (1 goal, 1 assist), but the best news of the evening involves goaltender Robin Lehner.

If you're into the new progressive way of thinking about what it takes to be a winning team in the NHL, goaltending doesn't carry as much importance as goal scoring. But good luck finding a great team that's lousy in net. The Sabres are looking to become a great team as quickly as possible and are crossing their fingers that Lehner is the guy and was worth giving up a first-round draft pick.

You can already tell by looking at him that he's lost quite a bit of weight, and reports are he's looked sharp in practice. But that's practice.

Last night, he stopped 37 of 39 shots -- and neither goal was his fault at all. He'd have been perfect if not for two fluky deflections.

Sure, the forwards will need to crank up the offense for this team to compete for a playoff position this season, but none of that'll matter if Lehner isn't solid in a net being fronted by what quite honestly isn't exactly what you'd call a stellar defensive corps. He's going to need to be good enough to bail them out on more than a few nights.

This game was an encouraging start. Let's see more of it. I love Dan Bylsma's decision to let him play the entire game, and I hope he does so again in preseason.


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  Tags: robin+lehner


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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

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Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]

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