Lehner shines as Senators down Islanders

After letting the New York Islanders score on just their second shot of the game, Robin Lehner didn’t look like he’d last the period, much less the game. But give the 20-year-old goalie credit.

Lehner shines as Senators down Islanders
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

After letting the New York Islanders score on just their second shot of the game, just 49 seconds after the opening faceoff, Robin Lehner didn’t look like he’d last the period, much less the game.

But give the 20-year-old goalie credit.

While his teammates were struggling to find themselves, he held off the Islanders and gave his team a chance to win, which is all you can ask of a goalie.

The 5-2 victory was Ottawa’s second victory over the Islanders in a week, after a 6-0 win on Long Island last week.

Lehner said he quickly forgot about the opening goal, by John Tavares. It was bad luck that it squeaked through. He knew he had to make the most of this chance to show the Senators he was ready to play in the NHL.

“I’m just happy about the win,” he said. “The win is huge for me, and the team.

“I kind of wanted to prove to the guys in here and to the organization that I could handle the pressure.

“It’s a lot of pressure for a 20 year old coming into a Canadian team trying to get into the playoffs.

“And the same day I’m going to play, they bring in a new goalie (Ben Bishop). Oh, great, it’s all pressure. I think for myself I went through another mental barrier.

“There was pressure all the time last year in the playoffs and the Calder Cup. . . so I’ve been in a lot of pressure situations. I’ve just got to be consistent and get something going.”

Lehner ended up facing 30 shots while Evgeni Nabokov faced 23.

Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, with power-play goals, Chris Neil, Jim O’Brien, and Kyle Turris, with an empty-net goal, scored for the Senators.

P.A. Parenteau also scored for the Islanders.

Spezza’s goal couldn’t have been more dramatic. At the start of the second-period power play that would lead to Michalek’s tying goal, Spezza got hit by a Daniel Alfredsson slap shot near the left knee and limped off.

A little more than five minutes later Spezza was back to rip a slapper, the go-ahead goal, over Nabokov’s left shoulder.

“It didn’t tickle,” said Spezza. “It just kind of got me in the wrong spot. But (I’ll) take care of it (Sunday night) and it should be OK. I was happy with the result of it. It felt pretty bad at first.”

Erik Karlsson had two assists for 65 points, to set the record for points in a season by a defenceman. Norm Maciver held the record since the 1992-93 season with 63 points.

Next up for Karlsson is Steve Duchesne’s record for goals in a season by a defenceman. Duchesne had 19 in 1996-97. Karlsson has 14.

“Obviously right now it’s a fun thing to accomplish,” said Karlsson, “but it’s going to have to have to wait until after the season.
“It’s not really going to affect me right now.”

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WHY THEY WON: Because they got some clutch goaltending from Robin Lehner and found their game halfway through the second period, sooner than they did in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins.

STUD: Robin Lehner. After allowing the Islanders to score on their second shot, he hung in and made some excellent saves, particularly in the second period.

DUD: Evgeni Nabokov. Turns out, all the Senators had to do was shoot. Once they did, they found Nabokov’s weak spot. He looked especially bad when he fanned at Jim O’Brien’s third-period goal.

AN OFFENSIVE MACHINE: Karlsson has had two or more points in his last four games and in six of his last seven. Sunday’s was his 18th multi-point game of the season. The previous high for a defenceman was 15.

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