Why Robin Lehner was 'all about love' for Blackhawks after first round series

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Scott King
·3 min read
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After Robin Lehner and the Golden Knights eliminated the Blackhawks from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Tuesday's Game 5, Lehner hugged his former teammates one by one.

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Lehner, who made 23 saves in Game 5's 4-3 win that gave Vegas a 4-1 series victory, signed a one-year free-agent contract with Chicago last summer. He was later traded from the Blackhawks to the Golden Knights ahead of Feb. 24's trade deadline.

The Knights goalie is now 5-1-0 with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage in the postseason tournament after winning the starter job for Vegas over three-time Stanley Cup champ Marc-Andre Fleury ahead of the series against Chicago.

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"This was a huge win for our team. It felt really nice for me to close this out because it's a bit weird playing your old teams, especially that group. That group is a hell of a group," Lehner said after Game 5. "They treated me really well. Got a lot of friends on that team and all about love for that organization. But it was a huge win for us and I thought it was a good series for us to move forward here."

Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer was behind the goalie in the handshake line as Lehner shared a moment with each of his former teammates after the brief, but hard-fought series.

Related: Robin Lehner tweets hilarious cartoon ahead of Game 2 vs. Blackhawks

"Some of the comments to him were really filled with respect and admiration for his journey and where he's going and what he's been through," DeBoer said.

Lehner, a Vezina Trophy finalist with the New York Islanders in 2019 before joining the Blackhawks, has spoken honestly about dealing with mental health issues the past couple years in an effort to bring about awareness and help erase the stigmas surrounding them.

"He didn't take very long to have an impact on our locker room. He's a big personality. The guys liked him a lot, and he played great hockey for us," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "He had a lot of influence on everyone, especially our leadership group, and won a lot of games for us."

Related: Robin Lehner got best of 'reverse psychology' with Blackhawks familiarity in Game 1

Lehner was 16-10-5 as a Hawk during the 2019-20 regular season with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage prior to the move.

He went 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage with the Knights ahead of the NHL Pause on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why Robin Lehner was 'all about love' for Blackhawks after first round series originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago