No cuss, no fuss for Leclaire

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:20 AM ET

Pascal Leclaire swears he’s happy ... or something like that.

The last one off the ice after the morning skate Saturday and given a rest by coach Cory Clouston with the Panthers in town Saturday night, the Senators’ No. 1 goalie didn’t get upset, cracked a smile at questions from the media and said he’ll get back on track.

Leclaire is expected to start Sunday night against the Hurricanes at the RBC Center as the Senators open a five-game road trip that could go a long way in determining where they will stand in the playoff race for the stretch drive.

Leclaire, who swore at the media following a poor performance in the club’s 5-2 loss to the Capitals in Washington on Thursday, says he can handle the criticism and pressure that goes along with being the starting goaltender in a Canadian NHL city.

“I’m used to it now,” said Leclaire. “I knew it was going to be like that, but I forget pretty quick. When things aren’t going well, you’re concerned about for about (30 minutes) and after that you forget about it. You try to focus on how to fix the problem.

“Like everybody else, it’s impossible to have 365 perfect days, but as long as I focus on what I have to do, I’ll get better. I don’t worry about it. I try to stay positive.”

Leclaire said he’s not worried about the fact the club doesn’t have top offensive players Daniel Alfredsson (shoulder), Jason Spezza (knee) and Milan Michalek (head), which has hampered goal production.

“It’s a team game. We’re 20 guys and the worst thing would be to start pointing fingers at each other,” Leclaire said. “We’re still where we want to be. Our goal is to be in the top eight at the end of the year. That’s where we are right now and we’ve got focus on that.

“I’m never going to be the guy to start pointing and saying, ‘We need more goals’ or stuff like that. I worry about what I have to do. If we have to win games 1-0 or 2-1, we’ll figure out a way to do so.”

Clouston said he just wants his goaltending to be consistent.

“I’d be lying if I said no, but I’d be lying if I said it was solely their responsibility,” Clouston said when asked if he was frustrated. “It’s a team game, we need to score more than two goals to win a game and I know it’s more difficult when you take out those three guys.

“We win as a team. We lose as a team. We still have to get the goaltending to allow us to get the opportunities. That doesn’t change.

“There’s a little more on their shoulders right now, but we have to support them. We have to have a solid, 60-minute effort. Our goaltenders included, but not just them.”

Briefly

Senators D Alex Picard and RW Shean Donovan were healthy scratches last night against the Panthers at Scotiabank Place. D Chris Campoli returned to the lineup, while Binghamton callups Martin St. Pierre and Zack Smith played up front.


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