Senators lose Leclaire to groin injury

A groin injury will keep goalie Pascal Leclaire out of the Ottawa Senators' lineup for at least a week.

Oft-injured goaltender will be re-evaluated next week

A groin injury will keep goalie Pascal Leclaire out of the Ottawa Senators lineup for at least a week.

Head coach Cory Clouston said Leclaire would be re-evaluated next week to determine if the injury is more serious.

Leclaire left Thursday night's 3-2 win after two minutes of action following successive collisions with Carolina's Jeff Skinner and Tom Kostopulous.

The 27-year-old was replaced by Brian Elliott, who hadn't played since the pre-season.

Foligno lighter in pocket

The NHL handed Senators forward Nick Foligno a $2,500 US fine for an illegal check to the head of Carolina's Patrick Dwyer. The fine is the maximum permitted under terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

Dwyer wasn't hurt on the play, and no penalty was called.

"I thought I just did what I was supposed to do. I just went for the puck more or less," Foligno said. "They say I contacted his head. I don't really think that, but that's part of the game that they're trying to crack down on, and I understand that they need to make an example of it. That was never my intent."

NHL senior executive vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell explained the decision in a news release.

"While there was no injury as a result of the hit, it is clear that Foligno delivered a shoulder check from the blind side that made primary contact with Dwyer's head," Campbell said.

"It is also clear that Foligno was delivering the hit in an attempt to get the puck. Finally, in determining that a fine was the appropriate discipline for this incident, I took into account that Foligno has not been suspended previously by the league."

— The Canadian Press

"It is frustrating," Leclaire said Friday. "It's almost like every year I get something, especially last year with the bad luck. Hopefully, it's not going to be too bad, but we'll see. It's tough to say now considering it just happened."

Leclaire said he suffered the injury after making the first save of the game. He tried to continue and wound up making three more stops before leaving the game.

"I felt great in warm-up," he said. "I just kicked awkward[ly], and [his groin] just popped out a bit. That's why it's frustrating … it just kind of came out of nowhere."

Leclaire, a 27-year-old native of Repentigny, Que., joined the Senators after a March 2009 trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets. But he didn't play a game for them that season while recovering from ankle surgery.

He was supposed to be Ottawa's No. 1 goaltender last season but never really settled into the role, in part because of the injury bug.

Leclaire suffered a fractured cheekbone after being hit by a stray puck while sitting on the bench as a backup in one game. He suffered a concussion when teammate Mike Fisher rang a shot off his mask in practice on another occasion.

As a result of his struggles, both to stay healthy and to play well, he lost the job to Elliott.

Leclaire, now in the final year of a contract that pays him $4.8 million US, was keen to show what he could do when given consistent playing time. Clouston gave him the opportunity and Leclaire played pretty well over the team's first three games, even though the Sens did not record a win.

Elliott is expected to fill in again when Ottawa visits the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.

Robin Lehner will join the team Saturday to serve as the backup. The 19-year-old Swede was due to make his first start of the season Friday night for Binghamton of the American Hockey League.

Leclaire has a disappointing 3.24 goals-against average and .903 save percentage in three-plus games this season.

With files from The Canadian Press