The Senators forgot who they were playing in front of Monday night. They’re supposed to be able to score when Brian Elliott is in goal.
At least, that was part of coach Cory Clouston’s thinking in starting Elliott against Edmonton. That, and the fact it’s “tough to take a guy out after a shutout,” as Elliott easily blanked Toronto Saturday.
Just 24 hours earlier, Pascal Leclaire played one of his best games as a Senator in a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh. “It’s not a slight on Pascal in any way, shape or form,” Clouston said in making his starting goalie announcement Monday morning. “We tend to play with a more offensive mindset with Brian. It’s been tough for Pascal. We don’t get him a lot of goals, for whatever reason. When he gets back in there, we’ve got to get him more than one goal, that’s for sure.”
The digits are right there. The Senators have scored three or more goals nine times with Elliott between the pipes. Just once for Leclaire.
“I didn’t know the numbers and there’s no different feeling with either,” said Daniel Alfredsson. “I think both goalies have played really well for us this year. I can’t see it any other way than being a coincidence.”
Leclaire does too. Otherwise, the guy would have a complex.
“Maybe stats-wise it ends up like that, but I don’t believe guys try to play different,” he said before his team’s 4-1 loss to the Oilers. “I think it’s just timing. It’s still early. Things can fall apart. Maybe after Christmas I’ll do the same thing and maybe I’ll get more goal support and Brian will get a little less.”
The thing of all this is the Senators fell back to their old, brutal ways as they managed to fire just 23 shots at the Oilers net. They almost had that in the first period of Leclaire’s last start, when they wound up with 44.
Clouston can use the stats as his out, but he clearly has more faith in Elliott ... more faith in him as the better goalie he is, more faith he won’t get injured ... and while he needs both of them to perform well for the Senators to have a chance at the playoffs, Elliott will be this team’s goalie this season, while Leclaire will be trying to catch on somewhere else.
Oh, and did I mention the Senators were just horrible against the Oilers?
n Truth is Martin Gerber is happy to be playing hockey anywhere after suffering the injury he did in the KHL last season. Gerber, who shone for Edmonton against his old Senators teammates Monday, wound up with a “contusion, couple bones broken off the vertebrae” that left his right arm numb after a collision that figured likely to end his career. “I had so many different reports,” Gerber said of what the Russian doctors were trying to tell him. “I had to go to the Internet to find out exactly what I had. Communication wise, it’s pretty hard over there.” ... Gerber said his last season in Ottawa (2008-09, when he was 4-9-1 record, a 2.86 GAA and a .899 save percentage) was pretty tough. “Seemed to be like I had a hard time blocking things out,” he said. “I let things get to me a little too much. Once you’re in (that mindset) it’s tough to find a way out.” ... Chris Kelly was among the numerous Senators who didn’t watch Sunday’s Grey Cup. “I was running errands,” said Kelly. “I didn’t find out until (Monday) morning who won.” Things should be different in Ottawa closer to 2013 ...