Robin rockin' in Sens net

Senators goaltender Robin Lehner allows a goal against the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Place in...

Senators goaltender Robin Lehner allows a goal against the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont., Oct. 30, 2011. (BLAIR GABLE/Reuters)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

OTTAWA - Robin Lehner had a good morning in the dressing room.

He said all the right things. About Binghamton. About his career. About his teammates.

Then, a few hours later, he took care of business.

Summoned from Binghamton over the weekend, Lehner was called on to give Craig Anderson a break in the Senators net, even though everybody and his dog knows you don’t sit a goalie who’s on a five-game winning streak. Lehner, however, ensured Paul MacLean didn’t look bad on the decision as he made 23 stops to beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 at Scotiabank Place.

His best of the night was the highway robbery of Nikolai Kulemin with Toronto on a third-period power play. Somehow, Lehner managed to get his large body over in time to take away an open net from the Buds winger.

“That,” said Patrick Lalime, the Senators’ all-time leader in just about every goaltending category, who now works as a broadcaster, “is a sick save.”

Indeed.

In Bingo, Lehner has a 4-2 record with a 2.77 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. He credits a recent visit by Senators goalie coach Rick Wamsley with helping get him turned around from a slow start. “Small details haven’t been working for me, but he came down last week and we fixed those up,” said Lehner, who was ready to get his first home win in the NHL.

“Coming up here, you’ve got to readjust to the speed a little bit, the shots are a little different. It’s nice that I got the morning skate before the game. We’ll see what happens. See how long I’m here.”

About playing in the AHL, he no longer sounds cranky.

“It’s a good town, the crowd is awesome,” he said of Binghamton.

“I enjoy it a lot. I see the purpose of me being down there. I’m really going in focused. I’m trying to develop. I know there’s stuff to my game I need to be better at. I’m working on it.

“I feel I’m getting better.”

He looks like he’s good enough to be here now.

STARTS AND STOPS

Setting the tone on the game’s first shift was Chris Neil, who had three hits in about three seconds. Two of them were on Toronto’s No. 3, Dion Phaneuf, who was a first-period target of Senators giving him a little payback for his crunch of Stephane Da Costa last time the teams met. One of the rubouts was by Jason Spezza, and Phaneuf didn’t like it one bit ... Latest gem by David Rundblad was his perfect 100-foot pass that sent Colin Greening in for the breakaway he turned into his fourth goal of the season.

STUFF I THINK I THUNK

Some of the messages sent around the hockey world Sunday were downright confusing. Such as, that it’s open season on the heads of stars, by Brendan Shanahan for his irresponsible decision not to suspend Wojtek Wolski after a late shot to the noggin of Daniel Alfredsson. Or that not even working your ass off every shift spares a guy from a seat in the pressbox, which MacLean gave Zenon Konopka for the Toronto game. You can assume a few Leafs applauded that move ... Jared Cowen did a nice job of handling Phil Kessel on a third-period rush ... Earning a cheer from the crowd for his backcheck steal in the third period was Zack Smith. At the time, no one knew it would lead directly to Kaspars Daugavins’ first goal ... Looked like the “Dog” was doing some barking as he skated by the Leafs bench to collect the high-fives from his teammates.

BETWEEN PERIODS

Last time we saw Lehner, he had hair. Where did it go? “Down the drain,” said the goalie, who in Binghamton lives with fellow Swede Andre Petersson. “I’m always without hair usually. Last year was my first with hair. Bothers me in my mask. Andre (cut) it. I trust him. He’s a good guy.” Beside his barber skills, what else is your roomie good at, Lehner was asked. “Hockey is one of his biggest talents,” he said. “Better hands you can’t find.” It’s taking Petersson a while to get a feel for the North American game, however. In his first season of pro hockey on this side of the pond, the diminutive winger has one goal and one assist in nine games ... As for Nikita Filatov’s play in the AHL, Lehner was even more impressed. “Oh, he doesn’t belong down there,” he said. “It looked a little easy sometimes. Like he could score when he felt like. He’s a great player with great skill who can score. He just has to find the groove up here. I think he can contribute here. It’s the same with every player, same with me. You’ve just got to get into a groove, a comfort zone. It takes a while to establish that. Some players longer than others.” Filatov didn’t do anything with limited ice time against the Leafs.

HMMMM ...

After an optional morning skate that was attended by just about every Senator, Konopka was swarmed by reporters who wanted to hear what he had to say about the five-minute major/game misconduct he was given for his bump on Artem Anisimov — a penalty that was almost as big a joke as it is that Shanahan is not suspending Wolski. “I thought you guys were coming over for my football picks,” Konopka said to the media. “You keep asking about this hit.” Okay, so who do you like in the Redskins-Bills game? “Buffalo.” A 23-0 Bills victory later, he looks like he could be the second coming of Jimmy the Greek ... Amazing how quickly Anisimov recovered from those gunshot wounds Saturday, somebody said to Konopka. That put him back in pigskin mode, with an idea that should be adopted by the NHL. “In football, if someone gets hurt, they’re done for three plays,” said Konopka. “So I think there should be some type of rule, if the trainer comes out, you should be done for the period. It would speed up the game. It’s a good way to speed up the game.”


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