VANCOUVER — Winless in 2010, Pascal Leclaire is trying to keep his head up.
The Senators goaltender, who hasn’t won since Dec. 31, was given his chance to get out of his slump Saturday against the Canucks. He was brilliant with 16 saves in the first period, but couldn’t prevent the 5-1 loss.
“We knew they were going to come out pretty hard,” said Leclaire, who has lost seven straight starts. “They’ve been away a long time with all the Olympic stuff and they were a pretty good team. They just kept going and we just gave them a little too much time to make plays. They built a lot of momentum out of it.”
Leclaire, who hadn’t started in a week, said he didn’t mind the first-period onslaught.
“When you get a lot of shots, you get in a groove and sometimes it’s easier than facing four or five shots,” he said. “They had a couple of scoring chances right off the bat and it kind of got me into it. Playing once a week and (facing all those shots) helps me quite a bit.”
Rypien fights back
After going toe-to-toe with RW Chris Neil in the second, Vancouver’s Rick Rypien made a gesture to the fans to cheer as he headed for the penalty box. That was a shot at Neil, who made a similar gesture last month after the two fought in Ottawa. “When we played down there, he did it to me for whatever reason. I just thought I owed him one. Otherwise, that’s not usually me,” said Rypien. “There was no need for him to do it the first time, so I did it back to him ... He’s a tough guy. He’s an honest guy. I usually don’t do that, and probably won’t do it again.”