Let’s play Guess The Goalie.
Yes, once again, the question of the day revolves around the Senators ’tender: Who will Cory Clouston use against the Atlanta Thrashers?
The answer: Where’s Mike Brodeur when you need him?
Okay, so maybe the situation isn’t that dire. The Senators aren’t going to push past their two healthy NHL goalies to pull up their minor-league stopper. The fact is, with Ottawa’s ineptness in the offensive zone, this team needs starring performances from Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire more than ever.
Neither is an obvious choice vs. the Thrashers.
Clouston’s No. 1 guy, Elliott, should have stopped two of Toronto’s goals Tuesday and is 1-3 since the break. Leclaire has looked better in his last two starts, but still hasn’t won since Dec. 31.
Both of them played in the 6-1 loss to the Thrashers here Atlanta Jan. 12, with Leclaire working the first period before being replaced by Elliott for the last two.
Each of them allowed three goals on 14 shots.
Elliott beat Atlanta 4-2 Oct. 10, while Leclaire lost to the Thrashers 3-1 Oct. 31.
Entering the season, Elliott’s career numbers versus the Thrashers were 2-1, with a 2.73 GAA and a .914 save percentage. Leclaire was 1-1, 2.76 and .889.
So, all signs suggest Clouston will go with Elliott against Atlanta.
Which means he’ll probably start Leclaire.
“If we were to win games 1-0 nobody would be talking about us not scoring,” Jason Spezza said Wednesday. “We’ve just got to find a way to win.”
Yes, right now, they need a shutout more than ever.
SUTTON SAYS: When Andy Sutton was traded to the Senators at the deadline, he could barely contain his excitement over coming to a “great team.” But since the deal, Ottawa has won just one of six games and has been nowhere near good.
“You don’t want to feel like it’s your fault, but you come in and the team doesn’t do well, it doesn’t bode well for your confidence early on,” admitted the big defenceman. “But we’re going to keep working through. We have a great group in here, a talented group, and guys really like each other. We’re just going to stay positive and keep pressing forward.”
Sutton has provided the Senators with the physical play they purchased from the Islanders, and he counted his first goal for the team in Tuesday’s loss to Toronto. But scoring it wasn’t the thrill it could have been.
“Obviously it would have been nice to get the win,” said Sutton. “That’s not why I’m here. Definitely didn’t feel very good to lose that game.
“It’s always hard to say what you’re doing personally, when the team’s not doing well,” he added, when asked to evaluate his own game. “I’m trying my best, trying to make things happen, trying to be physical and do some things. I hope it’s working.”