Pascal Leclaire has played more than 50 games a season only once in his five-year career. ((Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press))

Pascal Leclaire can't avoid injury even when he's on the bench.

The Ottawa Senators will be without their No. 1 goalie for four weeks after a freak injury during Monday's game left Leclaire with a broken cheekbone, the team said Tuesday.

The Sens said their starting netminder will require minor surgery.

"You can pull some [muscles] during games, but I'm sitting on the bench and I get a puck off the face," Leclaire told the team's website. "It’s something I’ll laugh about in 20 years … But it’s disappointing. It’s total bad luck. It’s something that seems to catch me every year but this one, it’s so bad that you almost want to laugh about it."

Leclaire was sitting out of the 4-3 overtime win over Washington on Monday because of a lower body injury. During the game, a puck bounced off the glass behind the Ottawa bench and hit Leclaire in the face.

"I didn't even see it coming," the 27-year-old said. "I was talking to one of our trainers, just chatting. It hit me like a baseball bat. It hurt quite a bit and then I was kind of dazed for a while.

"It's a terrible break for him and for us," added Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. "[Just] bad luck getting hit the way he did."

It occurred in the second period, when eventual OT hero Mike Fisher's dump-in was deflected by a stick.

"It happened pretty quick," Leclaire said. "I didn’t really see it coming. I was talking to one of our trainers and it hit me like a baseball bat. It hurt quite a bit and I was kind of dazed for awhile. It’s hard to describe."

Leclaire has played more than 50 games a season only once in his five-year career. Leclaire missed most of last season with Columbus after undergoing ankle surgery.

"I was hoping for an injury-free year but to me, that’s not really an injury. It’s bad luck and I’ll heal it up," he said. "I’ll probably be able to skate and at least stay in shape while I’m rehabbing it. It’s disappointing because I’m going to miss some time."

He's 8-5-1 this campaign and has reeled off three straight wins. Leclaire has a .901 save percentage and a 2.71 goals-against average.

Sens limping

With the games starting to come fast and furious, dealing with injuries will test the Senators, who have won four straight contests. The victory over Washington allowed them to vault into top spot in the Northeast Division.

Last Thursday, veteran winger Shean Donovan suffered ligament damage to his knee after a hit by Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke, and is out for six to eight weeks.

Anton Volchenkov still isn't ready to return from an elbow injury, although he could be back by the weekend.

Alex Kovalev, who returned to Russia last week following the death of his mother-in-law, won't be back in time for Wednesday's game.

And red-hot Fisher left practice early Tuesday nursing bumps and bruises, although Ottawa head coach Cory Clouston said he should be in the lineup Wednesday against the New Jersey Devils.

The injury means backup Brian Elliott is now the go-to guy in net. Elliott's record for the season stands at 4-1-2. The 24-year-old has a .902 save percentage and a 2.91 GAA.

Ottawa called up goalie Mike Brodeur from the team's AHL affiliate in Binghamton to back up Elliott for Wednesday's game against New Jersey. The 26-year-old Brodeur is 5-4-1 in 15 games this season with Binghamton.

With files from The Canadian Press