Sens goalie quiets doubters

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

OTTAWA -- The Maple Leafs hit Pascal Leclaire's throat, the goal post and the cross bar -- everything but the back of the net.

Such was the frustration in the final 20 minutes for the visitors, who could not find a way to tie the score in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators last night at Scotiabank Place.

"I felt pretty good," Leclaire said afterward. "It was a fun game. It was easy to get into it because the crowd gets so loud. I don't know if it was my best game but I managed to make some good saves."

None better than the one midway through the third period off Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin.

A down-and-out Leclaire saw the puck sliding behind him toward the goal line. In one last ditch effort, he stretched back with his stick and scooped the puck away just before it made its way into the net, depriving the Leafs of a goal that would have tied the game 3-3.

HAD STRUGGLED

Leclaire had struggled recently, causing rumblings in the nation's capital that perhaps backup Brian Elliott should get the majority of the work in the coming weeks.

But Sens coach Cory Clouston maintained confidence in his No. 1 goalie.

"There are going to be some good weeks and some bad weeks," said Leclaire, who was actually nailed in the Adam's Apple in the game's final few minutes.

"I didn't have the best week last week. (But) I tried to take the best out of it and really focus on that.

"(Last night) I felt more confident. People are going to talk and I just have to be able to deal with it."

He did that just fine last night, thank you very much.

MIKE.ZEISBERGER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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