OTTAWA - The wait is over for Pascal Leclaire.
For the first time in almost a month, the Senators goaltender will make a start in the club's net with coach Cory Clouston wanting to give ailing goalie Brian Elliott a rest.
Leclaire, who suffered a groin injury Oct. 14th against the Carolina Hurricanes, will make the start with the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Place at 7:30 p.m. EST to wrap up a two-game homestand.
Dressed as the backup for the club’s last four games, Leclaire is ready to replace Elliott, who has made 11 straight starts in the Ottawa net and has been nursing a nagging injury.
“I’m used to it. I’ve been practising hard in the last couple of weeks and I’ve been feeling good in practice,” said Leclaire. “Once I get a shots in I’ll be all right.
“It’s always the same thing, you want to make sure you come in, have a good warmup and try to feel good. A couple of shots early and things will get going. There’s no more nerves than any other game.”
Leclaire has a 3-4-1 lifetime record against the Canucks with a 2.54 GAA.
Coach Cory Clouston said it’s simply time to give Elliott a much-deserved rest.
“We can’t play Brian 70 games in a row. He’s played well in the past against Vancouver. Brian is nursing a little bit of a bump and a bruise. He should be ready to full practice (Friday) though,” said Clouston.
“It’s the perfect timing. We have five or six tough opponents coming up here. We need to have (Elliott) well rested and focused and we need to get Pascal back on track here as well.”
Defenceman Filip Kuba (broken leg) won’t play his first game of the season.
He could return Saturday against the Boston Bruins in Beantown.