PITTSBURGH — With the Senators’ playoff life hanging by a thread, Senators goalie Brian Elliott wants a shot at redemption.
Yanked after allowing four goals on 19 shots in a 7-4 loss Tuesday, Elliott has allowed 14 goals in four games, with a 4.14 goals-against average and horrid .853 save-percentage.
So the question is will coach Cory Clouston put Elliott back in net for Thursday’s crucial Game 5 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
“Right now, I have no idea,” Elliott said Wednesday. “I would love the opportunity to get back in there, but whatever happens, happens.
“We all have something to prove. Not just from (Tuesday), but from the other games as well. We proved in the first game that we can win. As a team, we just have to show that again.”
Senators coach Cory Clouston doesn’t announce his starter until game day.
While some might believe Pascal Leclaire is the likely option, he wasn’t much better in relief of Elliott. Leclaire gave up three goals on 23 shots — including a bad goal by Jordan Staal in the third that snuffed out any chance of a comeback.
But Leclaire insists he’s ready to go.
“I don’t know what’s going on. We’ll probably find out (Wednesday) night or (Thursday) morning. I’m fine, I felt decent (Tuesday). There’s no problem. It’s playoff hockey. We’re still alive and nothing is over yet,” said Leclaire.
“There’s urgency. We’ve dug ourselves a bit of a hole, but at the same time it’s a great challenge for us.
“We have a chance to get back into the series. It’s not going to be easy, but we definitely believe that we can do it.”
Does Leclaire believe he has earned the start?
“I don’t know. I felt okay. We lost. In playoff hockey, you can play okay, it doesn’t matter if the team loses,” said Leclaire. “That’s our main focus right now. It doesn’t matter who is playing or who is in the lineup.
“All that matters is team-wise we do well. I’d like to get a chance to play like anybody else. This is the fun part of the year, but we’ll see what happens.”
Clouston said he has already decided on his goalie. It would appear Elliott is the choice because the Senators committed to him more than a month ago and are unlikely to change that now.
“We know who we’re going to start,” said Clouston. “We’re just going to stick with announcing it the day of the game like we always have.”
The Senators aren’t pointing the finger at Elliott.
“We played some good games in Pittsburgh,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson. “We played okay in Game 3, not great, and in Game 4, we weren’t good at all. We opened ourselves up way too much. We have to play much better defensively.”
Asked if he’d start Binghamton goalie Mike Brodeur, who scored back-to-back games in January and scored wins, Clouston didn’t rule out the possibility, but didn’t sound like he wanted to dignify the question with an answer.
“You’re right, when we needed him he was very good for us a couple of crucial times in the season. I will admit that for sure,” said Clouston.
He wouldn’t say Elliott will get another chance, either.