Lehner stays in net to face Emery
AEDAN HELMER, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - It will be a piece of the Senators’ future staring down a piece of the Senators’ recent past in the crease as the Chicago Blackhawks roll into Scotiabank Place tonight.
Coach Paul MacLean confirmed there will be no lineup changes, meaning Robin Lehner will make his third straight start in the Ottawa net, with former Senator Ray Emery getting the call for the Hawks.
Emery’s 200th career appearance marks his first start in Ottawa since he was waived by the team in the summer of 2008.
“It’s always exciting to see friends and to play against them,” said Jason Spezza, who roomed with Emery in his Binghamton days and spent five years as a teammate in Ottawa.
“The competitiveness is there and it’s good to see him do well.”
Speaking to local reporters, Emery admitted “it’s very tough” to be a goalie in the nation’s capital.
“I think it can work both ways,” Emery said. “Do well, they’ll embrace you, maybe moreso than in other markets. But if you have a small, tough stretch, you have to fight even more. You get a lot more attention.
“I have good memories of playing here. That being said, it’s an important time for the (Blackhawks).”
Emery wasn’t sure how the fans would welcome him back.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “Getting booed on the road is like getting cheered at home. We’ll see how it goes.”
But Chris Neil said he expected Emery to get a warm welcome from the fans.
“He was a big part of the year we went to the finals, so I think fans will have good memories of him and obviously there’ll be a warm welcome for him,” said Neil.
“He’s turned his life and his career around. He’s been able to battle back through (a career-threatening battle with avascular necrosis), and it’s a feel-good story.”