The 19-year-old stopped just 20 of 24 shots and looked shaky at times, but the low-scoring Senators broke out of their scoring funk as six players scored in a 6-4 victory against the New York Islanders on Thursday night, snapping a six-game losing streak.
Lehner was called up for the third time this season, and appeared twice earlier, both in relief roles. He wasn't great -- he had trouble controlling rebounds and nearly misplayed a third-period dump-in into a goal -- but the Senators took advantage of a poor showing by the Islanders, who were badly outplayed for 40 minutes before third-period goals by PA Parenteau and Milan Jurcina made the score closer.
But thanks to Ottawa's biggest offensive night of the season, it was a win.
"I wanted to contribute to this team and try to get a win for them, and I think I was a part of it," he said. "This team really needed it and that's why they brought me and (forward Corey) Locke up, to contribute to it."
It was a tough night for both of New York's rookie goalies. Kevin Poulin started and allowed two goals on eight shots. He was relieved by Nathan Lawson, who stopped 15 of 19 shots. Poulin was reinserted in the third period and stopped all 11 shots he faced. Neither got much help from his teammates, who were beaten to the puck for most of the night.
"Pulling Poulin was a gut feeling," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "Sometimes, you just have to listen to your gut."
Ottawa needed just 32 seconds to open the scoring. After a turnover, Mike Fisher fed Alfredsson, who came in alone on Poulin, threw deked him and buried the puck into a wide-open net.
"We started off so quickly and never looked back," Alfredsson said. "It's nice to be in a winning locker room."
"It felt great," Gillies said about his first NHL goal. "But we have to go 100 percent every shift."
The only team going full-bore was Ottawa. The Senators went back in front at 9:50 when Jesse Winchester beat Poulin cleanly from the left circle, prompting Capuano to change goalies.
"It's a part of hockey," the 20-year-old said about being pulled. "I was mad at myself for letting a quick goal in."
The Senators blew the game open by scoring four times in the second period while outshooting the Islanders 17-7.
Milan Michalek finished a shorthanded 2-on-1 by putting a one-timer between Lawson's legs at 7:13. Blake Comeau answered at 10:31 while the teams were playing 4-on-4, but Chris Kelly beat Lawson 20 seconds later, and goals by Nick Foligno and Zach Smith made it 6-2.
"It seems like a trend for us in the first period," Comeau said. "The guys were embarrassed, basically."
Parenteau tipped a shot by Milan Jurcina into the net at 1:49, and Jurcina's slapper beat Lehner at 10:50, but while the rookie struggled with rebound control, he made enough saves to keep New York from getting any closer.
"Any win right now is a good win for us," coach Cory Clouston said. "I liked how we won the game. I thought we came out the way we wanted to. I thought we showed resiliency, which we hadn't been able to do in the past little while."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|Daniel Alfredsson (14) ASST: Mike Fisher (7)|
1 - 0 OTT
|Trevor Gillies (1) ASST: Zenon Konopka (5)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Jesse Winchester (4) ASST: Sergei Gonchar (15), Chris Neil (9)|
2 - 1 OTT
|SHG - Milan Michalek (9) ASST: Chris Kelly (9), Matt Carkner (3)|
3 - 1 OTT
|Blake Comeau (12) ASST: Travis Hamonic (6), Andrew MacDonald (13)|
3 - 2 OTT
|Chris Kelly (9) ASST: Milan Michalek (8)|
4 - 2 OTT
|Nick Foligno (6) ASST: Corey Locke (1), Matt Carkner (4)|
5 - 2 OTT
|Zack Smith (4) ASST: Jesse Winchester (6), Brian Lee (1)|
6 - 2 OTT
|Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (10) ASST: Milan Jurcina (5), Matt Moulson (9)|
6 - 3 OTT
|Milan Jurcina (3) ASST: John Tavares (15), Michael Grabner (4)|
6 - 4 OTT
|Erik Karlsson Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Chris Neil Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Peter Regin Interference against Rob Schremp|
|Rob Schremp Diving against Peter Regin|
|Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau Hi-sticking against Jarkko Ruutu|
|Matt Moulson Hooking against Mike Fisher|
|Blake Comeau Hooking against Jesse Winchester|