The post-game report: a little bit of this and a whole lot of Lehner

The five-game losing streak is over.

In its place now is a three-game stretch where the Senators have registered at least one point, including a much-needed 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The five-game losing streak is over.

In its place now is a three-game stretch where the Senators have registered at least one point, including a much-needed 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday.

It was far from a masterpiece, but there were certainly plenty of positives – another rock solid goaltending effort from Robin Lehner, timely goals and better (if at times spotty) play inside their own blueline.

“The game we played, we can make it better, we can be more consistent at, but it’s the type of game we can play anywhere,” said Senators coach Paul MacLean. “We can play it in at the (Canadian Tire Centre), we can play it in Columbus, we can play it in the parking lot, outdoors, anywhere. What we want to come up with is a game we can play anywhere, under any circumstances.”

The Senators can’t afford to get too cocky about a victory over a Blue Jackets squad that missing key players such as Nathan Horton (injury) and Nick Foligno (family issues) and was employing journeyman goaltender Curtis McElhinney in place of struggling Sergei Bobrovsky.

Yet, Tuesday’s effort was, in MacLean’s estimation, was an improvement. He even joked about the reduction in Lehner’s workload, from facing 57 shots in his previous game to 33 this time around.

“We handled the momentum swings better and I thought our penalty killers were outstanding and I felt if we kept it under 50 (shots), Robin would have a good chance to win and that ended up being a pretty good recipe.”

Lehner acknowledged having a ‘here we go again’ moment after the Blue Jackets narrowed the score to 2-1 early in the third period, but he was impressed at how the Senators clamped down after that goal.

“Right after that, we took over the game again,” Lehner said. “We just kept on grinding and they weren’t in our zone for (longer periods). A lot of things were good. The biggest thing was there wasn’t very many two on ones or three on twos. We have to build on this and try and play same way Thursday (against Montreal).”

Lehner’s teammates, who have provided him with little support in his previous games, were happy to finally get their goaltender a victory.

“It was a nice to get this one, Robin played unbelievable again in the first (period),” said Erik Karlsson, who scored twice and now has four goals and five assists in his past five games. “He has been playing really well for us and facing a lot of shots and his statistics were great. (The losses) were not on him, but on the team.”

Neil, who put together his own type of hat trick in the third period – a goal sandwiched around a pair of fights – says Lehner has deserved a win for some time.

“He has really elevated his game and wants to make us better, not just him.”

BY THE NUMBERS

Erik Karlsson’s Line: 2G, 0A, +3, 26:16,7 Shots on Goal

Jared Cowen’s Line: 0G, 0A, +2, 24:32, 3 Hits

Chris Neil’s Line: 1G, 0A, +1, 11:36, 2 Fights, 12 PIM, 2 Hits

Kyle Turris Ice Time: 22:46, tops among forwards

Jason Spezza Ice Time: 18:33, fourth among forwards

Robin Lehner: 32 saves, 33 shots

James Wisniewski’s Line: 0G,0A, -2, 24:04, 5 Shots on Goal, 2 Hits

 

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