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Robin Lehner still thought of highly by Islanders and their fans 

The puck hits the post as Vegas Golden

The puck hits the post as Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner watches during the first period of Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference final against the Dallas Stars on Sept. 10, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta. Credit: AP/JASON FRANSON

LAS VEGAS — It’s been three seasons since Robin Lehner played for the Islanders. But his inspirational story of overcoming mental health issues and addiction — not to mention his goaltending in getting the franchise back to the playoffs — has permanently secured him fan-favorite status on Long Island.

Lehner made 24 saves in the Golden Knights’ 2-0 loss to the Islanders on Sunday night at T-Mobile Arena in his second game against them since his lone season with the Isles.

"He came to our team after dealing with some personal stuff and was really motivated and really beloved by our fans," Matt Martin said. "He’s a great goaltender. A great guy. He’s probably more athletic than he gets credit for. We’re happy to see him find a home and sign a long-term contract with Vegas. He’s a tough goalie to play against."

Lehner won the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication in 2019, but the Islanders opted to invest long term in Semyon Varlamov. Lehner signed with Chicago and then was traded to Vegas on Feb. 24, 2020, eventually signing a five-year, $25 million deal.

He made 38 saves for Chicago in a 5-2 win over the visiting Islanders on Dec. 27, 2019.

Vegas will visit UBS Arena at Belmont Park on Dec. 19. Vegas coach Pete DeBoer said he factored in Lehner facing his former team when making his goalie decision for Sunday.

"What we tried to start on the Island two years ago, he was a big part of it," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "His story was very impactful. He was a little bit broken and had lost his way. That maybe sort of reflected the franchise. We were a little bit broken. We were trying to pick up the pieces after [John] Tavares left."

Isles files

The Islanders blocked 21 shots and outhit Vegas 44-19 . . . Ilya Sorokin’s 42 saves were a career high . . . Ross Johnston, Kieffer Bellows and defenseman Sebatian Aho remained healthy scratches

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