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At the Rink blog

Senators stick with Lehner as Anderson gets closer

Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 1:31 PM

By Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Senators stick with Lehner as Anderson gets closer

OTTAWA -- Goaltender Robin Lehner will make his third start in a row for the Ottawa Senators against the New York Rangers on Tuesday with Craig Anderson still sidelined by an upper-body injury.

Ottawa is winless in its past three, a skid that began eight days ago with a 4-3 overtime loss against the Nashville Predators. Anderson was hurt by defenseman Shea Weber's slap shot to his left shoulder but remained in the game. He left in the third period after a collision with teammate Milan Michalek.

"He practiced [Tuesday], which is very positive, but he's not going to play [Tuesday night]. He's not going to dress [Tuesday night]," Senators coach Paul MacLean said of Anderson. "I was encouraged by the fact he was on the ice."

Lehner relieved Anderson on March 10 with Ottawa trailing 3-1. The Senators came back to tie the game late in the third but lost to Nashville in overtime.

Ottawa sustained a more crushing overtime loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. The Senators lost 5-4 after blowing a three-goal lead in the final 3:22 of regulation. Their slide reached 2-5-2 on Sunday with a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche to begin a three-game homestand that wraps up Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I think we had a lot of the game but a few mistakes put us down in a hole, and all of a sudden they can relax and play very defensively, like all the Western teams do, and they're very good at keeping their leads," Lehner said. "So we've got to be smart [Tuesday]. We've got to play like last game and just try to minimize all the mistakes."

Defenseman Erik Karlsson expects that a day away from the rink Monday will help Ottawa re-focus for a desperation drive down the stretch. The Senators enter play Monday seven points behind the New York Rangers for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 15 games to go.

"It's always nice to get days off and I think everybody's really motivated coming into this game [Tuesday] and that's what we've got to keep doing," Karlsson said. "We've got to come in here every day and be motivated to do good and play well and play for each other. And I think with the group we have it's not going to be problem for the last 15 games."

MacLean is ready to keep his players motivated in the face of the daunting challenge the Senators face of having to climb over five teams to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It's my job to coach the team and that's all part of it, so we're going to play every game," MacLean said. "I still believe that we're going to like where we are after 82."

MacLean began his post-practice remarks with a statement about assistant coach Mark Reeds.

"He will undergo a medical procedure in the coming days that will require that he be absent from the team at times," MacLean said. "We appreciate your respect for his privacy at this time and we will make no further comment on this moving forward."

Henrik Lundqvist will have his second opportunity to break the team record he shares with Mike Richter for most wins by a Rangers goalie. Lundqvist tied Richter with his 301st win Friday in a 4-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets.

"He's one of the best goalies in the League, obviously, and as long as he sees the puck it's going to be an easy stop for him almost," said Karlsson, who won a silver medal playing with Lundqvist for Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. "We've got to get a lot of traffic in there, and the more pucks we shoot the better chance we have of getting goals."

Here are the probable lineups for the Rangers and Senators:

RANGERS

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash

Mats Zuccarello - Derick Brassard - Martin St. Louis

Benoit Pouliot - Brad Richards - Carl Hagelin

Brian Boyle - Dominic Moore - Daniel Carcillo

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

John Moore - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Justin Falk, Derek Dorsett, Raphael Diaz, Ryan Haggerty

SENATORS

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Ales Hemsky

Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Erik Condra

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Chris Phillips - Cody Ceci

Jared Cowen - Eric Gryba

Robin Lehner

Nathan Lawson

Scratched: Patrick Wiercioch, Matt Kassian

Injured: Craig Anderson (upper-body)

Quote of the Day

I think that’s the sign of a good team. When you don’t play well, and you don’t stay focused and you don’t do the intangibles that it takes, you still win the hockey game.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano after their win vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday
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