Net letdown for Leclaire

DON BRENNAN, Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

Pascal Leclaire’s 27th birthday party was shaping up to be a dandy.

He was beating his idol, Martin Brodeur, in a game that marked the 1,000th start of the future Hall of Famer’s career.

Leclaire had made great saves off Jamie Langenbrunner and Nicklas Bergfors, and two more that caused the shooters (Brian Rolston and Zach Parise) to look at the Scotiabank Place ceiling in disbelief.

Those glances might have somehow weakened the concrete, because Leclaire was sailing along just nicely when the roof fell in on him at 4:38 of the third period Saturday night.

“I thought the second goal was the turning point for them,” Senators coach Cory Clouston said of a David Clarkson shot from a tough angle that erased the Senators’ lead. “I thought (Leclaire) was okay. (But) in a one-goal game, that was a tough one. I’m sure if you asked him, he’d like to have it back.”

We did, and he would.

“I think we battled hard and then I gave up that bad goal on the power play, and it kind of turned the momentum around,” said Leclaire. “When you do that, as a goalie, you’ve got to come back with a big save.”

That didn’t happen. Less than three minutes later, Andy Greene beat him from the point with a wrist shot. Not for the first time this season, Leclaire had trouble picking up the puck in a crowd.

“The third goal was a screen, a bit, but after that mistake I’ve got to find a way to make (the save),” said Leclaire. “I’m a little mad at myself right now.”

What did Leclaire do wrong on the Clarkson goal?

“He caught me cheating a bit,” said Leclaire. “I thought he was going to go back (to the point) and then he put it back on net. I kind of already left, going to the point (with his attention). I looked a little like a fool. It’s a bad goal.”

Others on the team blamed the Senators’ parade to the penalty box.

“It’s not his fault,” Mike Fisher said of Leclaire. “We’ve got to be more disciplined. We’re taking penalties we shouldn’t be taking, at the wrong times of the game.”

But the goalie who should have been celebrating would have none of it.

“I’ll take that one on me,” said Leclaire. “We’ll forget about it and move on.”

Dish and dat

Jason Spezza’s rink-long rush in the 17th minute was nothing short of spectacular. A big Brodeur save off his backhander prevented it from being possibly the nicest goal ever scored at Scotiabank Place ... Admit it: You would like Spezza even more if he made it a regular practice to finish his check like he did on the Devils’ Mike Mottau in the third ... Good third period for Clarkson, who completed the comeback with his fourth of the season and then, a few minutes later, ensured Chris Neil would miss 10 minutes of action by throwing himself to the ice after a minor collision between the two at a whistle.

Sens hot-steppin’

What’s cookin’ in Senatorsland these days, you ask? At Mike Fisher’s house, it’s Baked Bauer. A couple of prying reporters were watching Daniel Alfredsson examine his skates Saturday when the captain said to his next-stall neighbour: “You should show them yours.” Replied Fisher: “Should I go get it?” Alfredsson nodded. Fisher returned from the equipment room a moment later with a boot he had put in the oven — as players do with new skates when they’re trying to mould them to their feet. Clearly, Fisher forgot to use a timer. The leather had melted. The incident reminded Neil of a similar absent-minded moment he had in the minors. “I put my skates in the oven,” said Neil. “And then went to the movies.”

Afternoon bingo

In attendance Saturday night were the streaking Binghamton Senators, who play the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal’s farm team) at Scotiabank Place today at 3 p.m.

Karlsson’s back

Back on familiar ice with the Baby Sens will be Erik Karlsson, who has one assist (and 12 PIMs) in three games for Bingo after recording three helpers in nine games for Ottawa.


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