Leclaire looking out for No. 1

BRUCE GARRIOCH, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:17 PM ET

The sound of the boobirds may still be ringing in Carey Price’s ears, but Pascal Leclaire says it’s too early for fans to roast the goalie.

Leclaire, who will play in Friday’s night’s game in Montreal, doesn’t believe Price has much to worry about, despite the reaction during a 4-2 Candiens loss to Boston on Wednesday. Price faced just nine shots.

“It’s only a few people who say that (stuff) to get people going,” said Leclaire. “I’m surprised. I haven’t heard about (any controversy). It’s Canada and every day people say something.

“It’s the first game of the year (for the Habs), it doesn’t even count and people aren’t happy.

“The next game, the same guy will make 45 saves and be the best goalie ever. It’s the same thing every day. It’s the first game in five months. We shouldn’t put too much (emphasis) on what’s going on right now.”

Leclaire has issues of his own. There’s already a debate swirling about who should be the No. 1 goalie in Ottawa.

Rookie Robin Lehner turned a few heads and got people talking with his 23-save performance in a 5-0 victory Tuesday in Toronto. Brian Elliott’s effort wasn’t great in a 4-1 loss in Toronto Wednesday.

Troubled by injuries last season, Leclaire is trying to reclaim the job he lost to Elliott in January. The games don’t count until Oct. 8 against Buffalo, but a strong effort would help Leclaire’s confidence.

People can talk all they want about a competition for the No. 1 job, but it’s Leclaire’s to lose. The Senators brought in goalie coach Rick Wamsley to work with Leclaire.

“This will be a good gauge of where I’m at and then we’ll go from there,” said Leclaire. “You have to come in every day prepared to work hard.”

Leclaire isn’t sure what to expect after such a long break.

“It’s always a lot different than practice. You usually feel better as the game goes on,” said Leclaire. “We’ve had some pretty good, hard practice here, but until you play a game it’s not the same feeling.

‘Get better’

“You can ride the bike as much as you want during the summer and practise as much as you want, but it definitely can’t compare to a game. It’s important to get into a few before the season starts. We’ll go from there. The important thing is to get better as every game goes on.”

Leclaire expects to play a full 60 minutes and he’ll face former Senators backup Alex Auld, who will start for the Habs.

“It’ll be fun to get in one game. That’s what we play for,” said Leclaire. “The practice is fun, but you always look forward to your first game of the season and we’re going into a fun building.

“It’s fun to go back home. Any time I have a chance to go back, it’s always special. It’s probably going to be a sellout, so that gets you into the game a little easier, that’s for sure.


Videos

Photos