Robin Lehner has led the Ottawa Senators on their best stretch of the season and is the NHL's reigning first star of the week.
Apparently that's not enough to keep him on the ice.
Lehner will be back on the bench while Craig Anderson returns to Ottawa's net Tuesday night for a home game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
As Anderson sat out the last three games with a stiff neck, Lehner took advantage of the opportunity and helped the Senators (7-6-4) defeat Columbus, Montreal and Florida to post their longest win streak of the season. They had lost five in a row before that stretch, with Anderson starting four of them and posting a 4.00 goals-against average.
"We're starting to feel pretty good about ourselves," coach Paul MacLean said after Saturday's 3-2 win over Florida. "I thought the way we played was a pretty solid effort and Robin Lehner gave us another good game in net."
Lehner's 1.33 GAA during the win streak, on which he's stopped 91 of 95 shots, helped him win the league's first star honor. He had been 0-2-2 with a 2.73 GAA.
"It's great for Robin," MacLean said. "He obviously worked very hard."
However, the coach announced Monday he is giving Anderson the start now that he's healthy.
"Craig's the No. 1 goalie and he's ready to play. He's playing," MacLean said abruptly when asked about his decision. "Robin's done a good job, but Craig's the No. 1 goalie."
The 22-year-old Lehner has made 28 starts in four seasons with Ottawa and will seemingly remain the backup to Anderson, who is 7-3-1 with a 2.60 GAA in 11 starts against the Flyers.
It would seem Philadelphia (5-10-1) is a good opponent for Anderson to face in his return considering it has scored a league-low 26 goals. However, the Flyers are coming off an inspiring, offensively solid performance as captain Claude Giroux finally scored his first goal of the season in a 4-2 home win over Edmonton on Saturday.
Giroux had gone 21 games without scoring, and the Flyers had just two goals over their previous four games.
"It was obviously a lot of relief," Giroux said. "To see all the boys on the bench being happy too, I think that was really fun. But you know what, it's a big win for us. And we go on the road now, and we've got to get on a roll here."
Philadelphia will be playing three road games in four nights, starting with a matchup against an Ottawa team which is 3-0-2 in its last five.
Linemates Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan have keyed that stretch, each posting a plus-8 rating. Turris' point streak is up to seven games and Ryan's has reached six, with each totaling three goals and seven assists during those runs.
The Flyers hope some of their top players now go on similar runs. Besides Giroux getting just his second point in five games Saturday, Vincent Lecavalier scored following a three-game point drought and Scott Hartnell got his second goal in three games after having no points through his first nine.
This is these teams' first meeting since Philadelphia won two of three last season despite scoring only five goals.
Visiting teams are 2 for 39 on the power play in Ottawa this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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