Bryan gives boost to Brian

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

The Senators' new goalie coach is perfect after two games.

Okay, so GM Bryan Murray was only joking about adding to his job title after Brian Elliott blanked the Montreal Canadiens in a potential playoff spot-saving win Monday in Montreal.

Murray huddled with Elliott the day before that game, and it's tough to argue with the results since their conversation. Within 27 hours, Elliott has registered consecutive shutouts. In crucial games against teams the Senators are battling with for their lives, he has stopped 55 shots.

Elliott had given up 33 goals in his previous 10 starts.

Talk about an about-face.

"It was just sort of a private conversation, about what we need to do going forward," Elliott said of his talk with the boss. "He was just trying to get everybody to relax, and know that we're a good team.

"Y'know, he's got some good jokes that he can tell you, to make you relax."

Interesting stat about Elliott and Pascal Leclaire: Their combined record is 26-34 when either fired goalie coach Eli Wilson or "consultant" John Stevenson has been "helping" them out this season. The Senators are 13-1 when the two stoppers have been left to their own devices -- or have Murray offering them advice.

Asked twice Tuesday morning if he and his pal Pascal are better off without the instruction, Elliott tersely replied: "I'm not going to answer that question."

In such, of course, he did. Otherwise he would have said something about it being nice to have the guidance of a qualified goalie coach.

Bottom line: The best coaching a goalie can have is the type old-school guys like Murray or Brian Kilrea would give them: Just go out and stop the puck.

STARTS AND STOPS

The Flyers will be some mad if Tuesday's game winds up costing them a playoff spot. Anton Volchenkov should have been given a penalty when he took Simon Gagne out in the first minute of the third period. But somehow, referees Gord Dwyer and Bill McCreary didn't see it that way. When Gagne snapped after Daniel Alfredsson gave Ottawa a 2-0 lead seconds later, the Flyers ended up being short-handed for seven minutes. Game, set, match. If the proper call -- boarding, hitting from behind -- was made, the Flyers would have been down 1-0 and on either a two- or five-minute power play ... The refs made themselves look worse for giving Volchenkov a two-minute roughing penalty while sending Gagne off. What did he do to warrant it, absorb punches? ... The Sens are 8-2 in the second of back-to-back games. "I think if you play well the first game, it kind of carries over," said Elliott. "You have that same kind of feeling and you know what you need to do."

BETWEEN PERIODS

Senators coach Cory Clouston couldn't or wouldn't address what part of LW Milan Michalek's left knee is damaged. If it's the ACL, Michalek could require season-ending surgery, and Clouston did admit that could be the case. "Best case scenario, he'll be back in 10 days," said Clouston ... It's been a while since the Senators drew a standing ovation like they did late in the second period for killing off a two-minute 5-on-3. It was still nowhere near as loud as Montreal fans would have given the Habs.

THINGS I THINK I THINK

Andy "Mount" Sutton is quickly becoming an Ottawa attraction. People are coming to the rink expecting The Mountain Man to lay a huge hit on someone -- and he's delivered, save for against the Leafs' John Mitchell last week. "I usually never miss, so the Mitchell one in the Toronto game was a bit weird," he said Tuesday. "I'm just trying to get my timing back, and play the game the way I always do and try to make something happen out there ... I block a lot of shots and try to throw my body around a lot." ... Anton Volchenkov cruised hip first into Daniel Carcillo in a big second-period collision. The Mountain Man drove Carcillo into the same spot on the boards just a few minutes later. Some would say couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

DON.BRENNAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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