OTTAWA - Pascal Leclaire celebrated his 28th birthday Sunday.
At this point, that’s about all he has to smile about.
With the Senators finally above .500 and goalie Brian Elliott on a roll, it would be surprising to see Leclaire make his return from his latest injury Tuesday against the visiting Thrashers.
The Senators don’t want to tinker with much as they ride a three-game winning streak, and that would include Elliott, who has started 11 straight games and has gotten better during that stretch.
That leaves Leclaire, who has been good to go since last week after being cleared to return from a groin injury, to sit and wait.
It’s not the position Leclaire wants to be in during the final year of his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent.
“It’s a bit like last year. I felt good all week. I’ll wait my turn,” said Leclaire, who has dressed as the backup for the last three games. “I cannot control (the situation). It’s the (coach’s decision) that will allow me to return to the game.
“I cannot complain. The team is fine. Brian did a good job. Certainly I would like to contribute. The goal is always to play. The only positive thing is that I feel as though I was (playing well) early in the season.”
He suffered his most recent injury during a collision with Carolina’s Tom Kostopoulos Oct. 14 at Scotiabank Place.
“It was really bad luck,” said Leclaire. “I felt good and it happened.”
Coach Cory Clouston isn’t sure when Leclaire will play, but nothing is going to be handed to him now that Elliott has taken charge.
“He played very well without a lot of support in the first two games (of the season) and unfortunately he got hurt,” said Clouston. “We’re just going to have to wait and see how things unfold.
“He’s got to be ready. He’s got to earn back ice time. He’s got to go in the net and play well and not give the net up when he does go in.”