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Opposing Locker Room: Sens Overcoming Obstacles

Despite injuries to some of their top players, Ottawa has won five straight

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 4:11 PM / Features
By Eric Russo  - BostonBruins.com

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BOSTON, MA – Despite being down reigning Norris Trophy winner, Erik Karlsson; their leading scorer from last season, Jason Spezza; and the current league leader in save percentage and goals against average, Craig Anderson, the Ottawa Senators have managed to win five straight games – a pretty amazing feat.

Much of their success, in the midst of a seemingly never-ending line of injuries, has stemmed from the ability of players to make seamless transitions from the team’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton, and some brilliant goaltending.

Since Anderson – who skated today at the Garden – went down in a game against the New York Rangers on February 21, former University of Maine product Ben Bishop has filled in and won all three games in which he has appeared.

Tonight, Robin Lehner will make his first start between the pipes since last March. Lehner, who was recalled last week following the injury to Anderson, played in five games for the Senators during the 2011-12 season.

Coincidentally, one of Lehner’s starts came a year ago tonight against the Bruins, at TD Garden. The result? A shutout for Lehner, in a Senators’ 1-0 victory over the Black & Gold.

“A little bit, but not really,” said Senators’ Head Coach, Paul MacLean, on whether Lehner’s past success against the B’s led to him getting a start tonight. “It’s more based on the body of work that he’s done this year and the strength of our schedule.

“Our schedule has been heavy. Depth is not good if you don’t use it. Robin’s had a very good season in the American Hockey League and he’s played very well in the National Hockey League when he played. Those are a lot of the factors that go into it. The fact that he’s played very well this year in the American League gives us a lot of confidence.”

Lehner didn’t want to put too much stock into his victory in Boston last season.

“People have been asking me that question, but it’s game to game,” said the goaltender. “I’ve lost against these guys too. They’re very skilled – I have a lot of respect for them. We’ve just got to go out, do our best, and try to get two points.

“It’s been about a week and a half since I played a game. I’m excited to get back in there and play for this team.”

Senators’ captain Daniel Alfredsson praised the players, including Lehner, that have come up from Binghamton.

“They’ve come up and played really hard, played well,” said Alfredsson, who’s been at the center of trade rumors over the past few weeks. “They’ve been given a lot of confidence from the coaching staff, too, they haven’t been afraid to put them out in all situations. I think it shows that they’re doing a great job with our farm team in Binghamton. It seems like the adjustment coming to us is not that big.”

Alfredsson, who has played his entire 17-year career in Ottawa, has been trying to block out all of the rumors that he may be playing else where by season’s end and focus on the task at hand: contending for a playoff spot.

“I haven’t thought anything for my own situation other than being here,” said Alfredsson. “I’ve been asked the questions before. I understand there’s going to be rumors. For me, my focus is here with this team, especially with their way we’re continuing to get points and get in the playoffs. That’s what everybody wants – the chance to get in the playoffs.

“I’ve been here so long, I can’t see anything else, but I’d never say never. I just feel this is where I belong. I’m having a lot of fun with the team, especially this year. It hasn’t turned out the way we expected going into it, but guys have stepped in for injured players and done an unbelievable job.

“It’s been a real fun locker room to be apart of.”

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Krejci 80 19 50 39 69
P. Bergeron 80 30 32 38 62
J. Iginla 78 30 31 34 61
M. Lucic 80 24 35 30 59
B. Marchand 82 25 28 36 53
R. Smith 82 20 31 28 51
C. Soderberg 73 16 32 4 48
Z. Chara 77 17 23 25 40
T. Krug 79 14 26 18 40
L. Eriksson 61 10 27 14 37
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 36 15 6 .930 2.04
C. Johnson 17 4 3 .925 2.10
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