The latest youngster to make his presence felt for the Senators is
backup goaltender Robin Lehner, who recorded his first shutout of
the season with 27 saves for the streaking Senators in a 3-0 win
over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
Lehner, who started just once since Dec. 18 and was playing for the
first time in 2014, got goal support from left winger Clark
MacArthur, right winger Erik Condra and center Kyle Turris as the
Senators (21-18-8) improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven games.
"I'm always scared to death to say we've accomplished anything until
everything is said and done, but we're certainly finding our game,
and how we need to play to be successful. We have the total group
playing the way we need to play," said Senators coach Paul MacLean.
"Young players can give you some headaches at the start but if you
can be patient and get through the growing pains, the improvement
can be quick and it can be radical."
Minnesota (25-19-5) has been playing great hockey on the road, where
the Wild have won three in a row, but have now lost two straight in
their home rink, despite 29 saves from goalie Darcy Kuemper on
"There's no excuse for that. Home's where you've got to take
advantage," said Wild right wing Justin Fontaine. "We've been
playing good on the road, we've got to bring it back here. We all
know it. We all know we've got to be better, come when the puck
drops and establish our structure and our team play."
The Senators recorded 12 of the game's first 13 shots on goal, and
took a 1-0 lead on a first-period power play. With Wild center
Mikael Granlund serving a double minor for a high stick to Ottawa
defenseman Erik Karlsson's face, MacArthur finished off a high-speed
rush to the net, taking a cross-ice pass from Turris for a quick
re-direct past Kuemper.
Wild coach Mike Yeo called referees Mike Hasenfratz and Chris Lee to
the bench for a heated conversation where the coach claimed
MacArthur was offside on the play, but the goal was allowed to
"We said after the first period, let's make that the story of the
first period, let's try not to make it the story of the game," Yeo
said. "We weren't on our toes. We were getting beat to loose pucks
to start the game, and we weren't moving our feet. We were hesitant.
We need to be ready to start the next game better than that."
After a scoreless second period, the Wild were clearly the
aggressors early in the final 20 minutes, and it cost them.
Minnesota defenseman Marco Scandella's slap-shot attempt from the
blue line produced a broken stick, a turnover and a breakaway for
Condra, who finished an end-to-end rush by poking the puck between
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Turris added a power-play goal with 2:22 left in the game,
his third in as many games. The Senators captured seven of a
possible eight points on their just-concluded four-game road
"We knew that we were going to have to get on a run just to get
back into the (playoff) picture, so now we can't let up," Turris
said. "We need to keep going. There are five or six teams trying
to get into that last spot."
Kuemper was making just his fifth appearance of the season. He
has started three of the Wild's past five games while goaltender
Josh Harding is sidelined, dealing with medication to treat his
multiple sclerosis. At the other end of the ice, Lehner said
there's been a fundamental change in the way the Senators are
playing, which makes it easier to thrive in goal.
"If the play isn't there, we're not doing it," said Lehner, now
6-9-3 this season. "We're not forcing anything, and that's been
the difference. We're playing simple and not forcing many plays,
so there's not as many turnovers, not as many dangerous
NOTES: While he is still a ways away from returning to game
action, Wild LW Zach Parise skated with an assistant coach prior
to practice Tuesday. Parise last played in Minnesota's Dec. 22
road game vs. the New York Rangers. He suffered a foot injury
Nov. 25. ... Senators RW Chris Neil was scratched from the
Ottawa lineup Tuesday for the fifth consecutive game. Neil, an
alternate captain, has five goals and one assist this season,
but is dealing with a hamstring injury. ... The time away from
the rink hasn't been uneventful for Parise. Last week, he and
wife Alisha became parents for the first time, welcoming a boy
and girl — twins Jaxson and Emilia — into the world. ... The
first-period goal by Senators LW Clarke MacArthur was his fifth
in the last six games. ... Minnesota, which won its last three
road games, is in the middle of a three-game homestand. The Wild
hosts the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. Having just concluded
four in a row on the road, the Senators are at home on Thursday
as well, hosting the Montreal Canadiens.
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