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'A great building block' for Senators: Leclaire

Team believes OT loss against Caps can be starting point for early season turnaround

Tuesday, 10.12.2010 / 12:37 PM ET / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
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\'A great building block\' for Senators: Leclaire
Senators goaltender Pascal Leclaire, who has been arguably the team's best player so far this season, sees Monday's tie in Washington as a starting point for better things (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
Call it a much-needed starting point for the Ottawa Senators.

While it wasn't the end result they wanted, the Senators are trying to take the glass half-full approach to Monday's 3-2 road loss in overtime at the hands of the Washington Capitals. Overall, it was an encouraging sign after the back-to-back setbacks to the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs that got Ottawa's season off to a rocky start.

"We looked like our team (last) night and the guys fought hard," Senators goaltender Pascal Leclaire said after Sunday's game at the Verizon Center. "We got a point. At least we're on the board now and we can look forward. We believe we have a pretty good team and we can achieve a lot this year.

"Sometimes, during the year, things don't go your way and for us, it was our start. If we keep doing what we were doing (last) night, it's a great building block. I think we have a lot to look forward to."

Senators head coach Cory Clouston gave his team the day off today, but they'll return to the ice Wednesday and begin preparations for Thursday night's matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., TSN, Team 1200). Clouston agreed that the result in Washington "was definitely something to build on."

"Our guys can feel good about how well they played and how hard they worked, but we still didn't come away with two points and that was our goal. It's for sure something to build on."

Added forward Ryan Shannon: "We came more organized (last) night, supported one another better and stayed together on the ice. We didn't get spread out, so it seemed like we weren't as tired as the game went on. (The Capitals) are a good team, they're projected to win the Stanley Cup and we hung with them."

Indeed, Monday's effort was by far the best turned in by Ottawa so far this season. Veteran blueliner Sergei Gonchar, the Senators' top free-agent signing over the summer, liked the way his new team rebounded from Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Leafs in Toronto.

"It definitely wasn't (worthy of) praise," Gonchar said when asked about the way the Senators performed in the two losses. "We didn't play as well, but we have to look at this one (Monday) and see how the guys respond. We didn't play well (the first two games) but at the same time, guys came back and recognized we weren't doing well and they responded.

"This was a good thing and we have to continue to do the same thing again and again ... We just have to take it with us and make sure we are doing the same thing the next game."

B-Sens earn split on opening weekend

The Binghamton Senators are off to a 1-1-0 start in their 2010-11 American Hockey League campaign after whipping the Adirondack Phantoms 5-1 on Friday and dropping a 7-4 decision to the Norfolk Admirals the following night. Both games were played at Broome County Veterans' Memorial Coliseum.

Jim O'Brien was the offensive leader on the weekend, producing three goals, including a pair in the loss to Norfolk. Forward Bobby Butler and defenceman Patrick Wiercioch each recorded their first professional hockey goals in the win over Adirondack, with the former also adding a goal and assist against the Admirals.

Defenceman André Benoit was Binghamton's top point-getter, totalling four assists.

The B-Sens return to action on Friday, facing the Hershey Bears on home ice before hitting the road for games Saturday against the Syracuse Crunch and Sunday vs. the Toronto Marlies (1 p.m., NHL Network).




1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


E. Karlsson 82 21 45 7 66
M. Stone 80 26 38 21 64
K. Turris 82 24 40 5 64
B. Ryan 78 18 36 5 54
M. Hoffman 79 27 21 16 48
M. Zibanejad 80 20 26 0 46
C. MacArthur 62 16 20 -6 36
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
D. Legwand 80 9 18 1 27
A. Chiasson 76 11 15 -5 26
C. Anderson 14 13 8 .923 2.49
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02