Lehner eyes 'awesome' matchup

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

SHORT HILLS, N.J. Its the way he responded to his first slump of the season that has Robin Lehner back in the NHL with the very definite possibility hes about to get into a stare-down with one of his childhood heroes.

Lehner was coming off a 43 save, 2-1 victory over the AHLs best team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, when he arrived in Ottawa to practise with the Senators Monday.

I had my first slump of this year. I had two hard games for myself, Lehner, who has a 6-6 record, 2.65 GAA and .913 save percentage for the Baby Sens. I worked really hard to try and get out of it, and had my best game of the season Saturday. It felt really good.

Coach Cory Clouston wont announce who will start in goal for Ottawa Tuesday, but with the Senators playing Detroit back home Wednesday, Lehner is likely to get another taste of the NHL. If its against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils, he couldnt be happier.

If I get the call, it would be awesome, said Lehner, whose NHL debut was a 6-4 victory in Long Island Jan. 13. When I got into goaltending, him and (Patrick) Roy were the figures you started looking into when you started putting the pads on. I didnt know much about hockey. Those were kind of the first guys my dad showed me.

Lehner also appears destined to return to the minors this week.

Weve got to make sure were not yanking him here, there and everywhere, said Clouston. Its a chance for him to possibly get into a game over the next couple of games. The fact he played very well last outing for Binghamton is a big difference.

Lehner has made it clear hed rather be a backup in Ottawa than be returned to Binghamton.

Its hard down there, when you go down, he said. I didnt really have much to do ... you just kind of sit around. Its pretty hard.


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