Lehner posts shutout in first game since revealing bipolar diagnosis

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Robin Lehner was a wall in his first game since detailing the heavy demons that plagued him in the past. (AP Photo)

They say “two points is two points,” but some wins are simply more special than others.

pitch a shutout in his team debut.

To say the performance was a relief after the hardships he’s endured over the past decade, and especially the last few months, would be understating it more than a just a little.

powerful article by The Athletic in September some of the demons threatening to end his career and his life.

In the piece, the eight-year NHL veteran described one contest in particular — his last ever in a Sabres uniform — which sent him on the path to finally seeking help after suffering a severe panic attack during the second period of a game against the Red Wings.

The Islanders netminder also revealed and detailed suicidal thoughts which were almost turned into action on numerous occasions, and a dependency on drugs and alcohol which further sent his life into a tailspin.

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The game that changed everything for Lehner. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Lehner admitted that he could feel the ups and downs of bipolar disorder affecting his day-to-day play as an NHL goaltender.

“I had never had a sober season of hockey my entire career,” Lehner wrote. “With those manic swings, I could see the pattern.

“When I was hypomanic and in a good mood, I was a solid goalie. The depressive state, not so much,” he wrote.

Lehner added that, on the personal side, his frequent suicidal thoughts have all but disappeared and he seems genuinely excited to be back in the crease. The Sabres released him in June, but the New York Islanders stepped up when the free-agent needed one more opportunity to redeem his career.

“The Islanders were ready to take a chance with me. I was relieved that I could start a new chapter. When I was finally offered the deal, I was so happy. I finally had someone who believed in me, now sober,” Lehner wrote.

With his newfound sobriety, a fresh lease on life, and a 35-save shutout in his Isles debut against a Cup contender in his pocket — and at just 27 years old — Lehner can now focus, for the most part, on reaching the all-world potential many have seen in the big, athletic netminder’s game since he was drafted in the middle of the second round by the Sens in 2009.

In Game 1 with his new squad, he showed every ounce of that potential.

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