With their season on the line, the Ottawa Senators have turned to Pascal Leclaire to start in goal Thursday in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Penguins in Pittsburgh (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC).
Leclaire made his 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in the second period of Game 4 Tuesday, replacing Brian Elliott with the Senators trailing 4-0. Leclaire stopped 20 of 23 shots in what ended as a 7-4 defeat that leaves the Senators trailing 3-1 in the series.
Leclaire went 12-14-2 with a 3.20 goals-against average in 34 regular-season games. He arrived in Ottawa at the 2009 trade deadline and entered training camp as the undisputed starter, but injuries and poor play allowed Elliott to take the top job.
Elliott allowed four goals in three of the first four games in the series, including Ottawa's only win, a 5-4 victory in Game 1 at Mellon Arena.
Elliott's .853 save percentage is the lowest among the 20 goaltenders to see action this postseason, and his 14 goals allowed are the most.
Coach Cory Clouston, prior to naming a starter, said it would be unfair to blame the team's goaltending for the hole the club finds itself in.
"It's easy to point fingers, but as a team we have to be better," he said. "We're playing a team that capitalizes on their chances. The mistakes we've made, they've made us pay for; we haven't done the same to them. We've had the opportunities, we haven't made good on them. It magnifies our mistakes and it magnifies the goaltenders. We've had success this year because we've been a team and we're only going to continue that if we do it as a team. We have to score on our chances, and when they make mistakes we have to capitalize, and we have to cut our mistakes down."
Clouston also announced one other lineup change for Thursday -- Shean Donovan will replace Jonathan Cheechoo on the fourth line. Cheechoo didn't have a shot in 7:13 of ice time in Game 4, his first NHL action since being waived and demoted to the American Hockey League on Feb. 12.