BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner took care of business against his former team already once this season and will look to do so again when the Ottawa Senators come to town Wednesday night.
Lehner is hitting his stride after missing one week earlier this season due to illness. In the 2-1 victory over Ottawa on Saturday, he was the clear standout with 32 saves — including several highlight-reel stops.
“He was the one guy that, for the full 60 minutes, he gave it his all and was really a big reason why we won that game,” Sabres forward Sam Reinhart said after Buffalo's Saturday win over Ottawa, according to the Sabres' team website.
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“He's a battler,” Sabres forward Kyle Okposo said following the win, according to the Sabres' website. “Early in the season, you could see that his game was coming. He made some really good stops and the last few games that he's played, he's just been battling for us and making big saves. He made so many huge saves and his athleticism is really good. It's allowing him to make some of those saves.”
Lehner's best stop in that game came with 5:06 remaining in the first period. The goalie charged out of the net and as Jean-Gabriel Pageau went wide to his left, Lehner sprawled on the ice and extended his arm to stop the puck with his blocker.
The Sabres sent a first-round pick to the Senators to acquire Lehner last summer. In nine games, the goaltender has a record of 4-4-1 and a save percentage of .925.
Buffalo will be looking for a better team performance compared to their last outing. Following the win over Ottawa on Saturday, the Sabres had a clunker against the Boston Bruins on Monday and lost 4-0.
“We've got to keep our cool no matter what's going on out there,” Sabres captain Brian Gionta said, according to the Sabres' website. Buffalo struggled with penalties in the loss to Boston. You've got to stay composed, whether you're mad about it or not or you don't agree. We've got to keep our composure. That's what happens. The game gets running from you. You start reeling, you start getting frustrated and you get away from what you need to do to get back in the game.”
The Senators are coming off 3-1 loss to Nashville on Tuesday night.
Goalie Craig Anderson has flourished between the pipes for Ottawa while at the same time coping with the news that his wife, Nicholle, had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
“He's a strong person — him and Nicholle both, and their two boys,” Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. “I can't even imagine some of the emotions that he's feeling and what him and his family have to go through on a day-to-day basis. For him to show the kind of commitment he's not only shown to our team, but to his wife, it's pretty special to see. It's a testament to him as a person.”