Sickly Sens seek sleep

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:42 PM ET

The Senators’ losing streak continued Sunday, this time dropping a decision to the flu bug as it swept its way through the dressing room.

Preparing to leave Monday for a three-game Western road swing, the Senators cancelled a scheduled afternoon event with season-ticket holders at Scotiabank Place with at least 11 or 12 players battling the flu.

The session — which was supposed to include a town hall discussion with captain Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher and Chris Phillips — will be rescheduled as the Senators hoped to stop anyone else from getting sick.

Following Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs, Senators coach Cory Clouston wanted the players to take it easy Sunday.

“We had a couple of guys who were bad (Friday) and they played (Saturday),” said Clouston. “As the day went on, three or four of the guys got better and, as the day went on, six or seven of the guys got worse. A couple of the guys got really bad before the game, so we’ll see how that goes.”

The Senators got a mulligan from Clouston for the loss to the Leafs as they picked up an all-important point and stayed in the race for top spot in the Northeast Division and, ultimately, the No. 3 position in the Eastern Conference.

While many of the Senators were sapped of energy against the Leafs, a guy who received a much-needed boost was goalie Pascal Leclaire. He hasn’t won since Dec. 31 and has had his share of his struggles, but showed Saturday his game is headed in the right direction.

Leclaire, who was yanked after allowing two goals only 6:23 into the first period of Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes, was solid on Saturday. He made huge stops to keep Ottawa in the game and offered a glimmer of hope that he can be the Senators’ No. 1 goalie down the stretch.

“I felt good. I wasn’t really worried. You guys know me by now. I forget about things pretty quick,” said Leclaire, who made 30 saves against Toronto. “I came back to the rink (Friday), I had pretty good day and I cleared my head. I made a couple of early saves (Saturday) and, with the crowd and everything, it helped quite a bit.

“I just wanted to come in and play a solid game. I didn’t want to do anything spectacular, I just wanted to be solid for my teammates and I think that’s what I was (Saturday).”

At times, Leclaire was spectacular. He likely wouldn’t have started if Brian Elliott had been healthy, but Leclaire took advantage of the opportunity. He spoke with Clouston Friday about why he was pulled in Raleigh.

“It was good. We’re both professionals. There was a big story about what happened in Carolina, but it was just a quick chat and both of us let each other know where we stand about it. It was good and we moved on,” said Leclaire. “There is so many things that happen in hockey, the worst thing is to get negative and get into fights. We both forgot it about it pretty quick. We’re on the same page and it’s over.”

Meanwhile, the Senators will decide Monday if winger Nick Foligno will accompany them on the three-game trip, which has stops in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. He is inching closer to return from a broken leg, but hasn’t been able to practise with the team yet. Zack Smith was returned to Binghamton on Sunday.

“It’s probably going to be another week and then after the road trip I may be ready to go,” said Foligno, who has been skating daily. “I’ve been feeling better as the days go by, it’s just a matter of the leg feeling good. Things are looking positive.”

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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