Updated March 5, 2021 - 7:13 pm
Marc-Andre Fleury needed a breather. Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer knew it, too.
The goaltender finally got a break Friday with Oscar Dansk starting the opener of a back to back against San Jose.
Fleury is second in the league in goals-against average (1.71) and save percentage (.939) among goalies with at least five appearances.
“But we are getting to a point where we’ve got to look at managing that or I think we’d be risking either play dropping off or injury,” DeBoer said. “We’re getting into that zone now.”
Robin Lehner hasn’t played since Feb. 7 because of an upper-body injury. DeBoer noted that Lehner wasn’t with the Knights for the “beginning of this trip” and he was placed on long-term injured reserve prior to Friday’s game, according to CapFriendly.com. The move is retroactive to Feb. 11.
“I think there’s talk about him being very close to reintegrating in with the group,” DeBoer said. “That’s the best I can tell you on him.”
Dansk owns a 3-1 record in his NHL career, with all of his victories coming during the Knights’ inaugural season. He made one appearance last season and was knocked around in a 6-2 loss at Philadelphia.
“As far as (Fleury) and Dansk goes, we’re going to have to look at all options to make sure that we’re doing the right thing for the team and for all the individual players,” DeBoer said after the morning skate.
Defenseman Brayden McNabb participated in the morning skate and is nearing a return from the lower-body injury he sustained Jan. 26 against St. Louis.
“Getting very close to reintegrating with the group,” DeBoer said.
McNabb is eligible to come off long-term injured reserve at any time. Once he is activated, the Knights will have to juggle their roster to become salary cap compliant.
Early in the season, the Knights were forced to go with a 13-forward, five-defenseman lineup at times to be under the cap. DeBoer expects to dip into the taxi squad during the next week to keep his skaters fresh.
The Knights play six games in the next nine days starting Friday.
“We’d be crazy not to,” he said. “I just think you’re asking players to do the impossible by showing up every night with the type of energy we need to expend to play the way we want to play without rotating fresh people in and out of those spots.”