Trade should help Elliott

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:52 PM ET

The Senators expect the trade for puck stopper Pascal Leclaire -- a former first-round draft pick -- will be a positive push for their current No. 1 goaltender.

Brian Elliott's first chance to react to it will be tonight at Scotiabank Place, when the Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers.

"He'll be fine," coach Cory Clouston said in naming Elliott as his starter tonight, a day after the team obtained Leclaire in a deadline deal for Antoine Vermette. "He's a competitor. I think it will help him focus that much more.

"He wants to show he belongs at this level."

Elliott, who enters the game with a 7-4-3 record, 2.85 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage, is not the goalie he was when he first arrived from Binghamton in mid-January.

He was pulled from three games in February, and it was his inconsistent play that convinced GM Bryan Murray he needed an upgrade at the position.

Clouston liked the way Elliott played in relief of Alex Auld in the third period of Tuesday's loss to Calgary. Elliott allowed one goal on seven shots.

"I really don't know him, I haven't seen him play that much," Elliott said of Leclaire after the trade deadline. "He was obviously a top end guy coming into the NHL ... all I know is he's been injured for a while now."

If he can handle it, Elliott will get the bulk of the work the rest of the season, as the Senators determine if he's worth re-signing. The 23-year-old is set to become a restricted free agent in July.

"I'm not thinking too much about it," he said when asked about the situation. "This is my first kick at the can too. I just try to keep playing to my ability, and getting better every day in practice, and waiting for the next opportunity."

Leclaire is expected to arrive in Ottawa later this afternoon. His ankle injury means Leclaire is not likely to play for Ottawa this season.

In other changes tonight, the Senators will dress forward Peter Regin, who was called up from Binghamton Wednesday. Shean Donovan also returns to the lineup. Christoph Schubert will return to his seat in the press box as a healthy scratch.

Game time is 7:30 p.m.


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