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Lehner insists he’s still just Senators’ backup

Dec 17, 2013, 9:57 AM EDT

Ottawa Senators goaltender Robin Lehner (40) makes a pad save on St.Louis Blues Alexander Steen (20) during second period NHL hockey action in Ottawa Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Fred Chartrand) AP

After turning aside 30 of 32 shots in the Ottawa Senators’ 3-2 overtime victory over St. Louis last night, goalie Robin Lehner‘s 2.38 GAA is nearly a full goal less than Craig Anderson‘s.

Anderson was stunning last season, but he’s been inconsistent in 2013-14 while Lehner has been flourishing. The Senators have had high hopes for Lehner for quite some time and with the team looking to climb above their mediocre start, it might be time to put their support fully behind the 22-year-old netminder.

That’s not how Lehner sees it though.

“This year, I’m the backup, I’ve said that a bunch of times,” Lehner told the Ottawa Citizen. “I’ve played a bunch of games, but it’s been weird circumstances – to go take over, because it’s not that time yet.”

People have suggested to him that he’s ready to compete with Anderson for the starting job, but he doesn’t feel it’s his time yet.

It helps the team that he’s actively fighting against the developing goaltending controversy. It’s also particularly noteworthy given that he’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent for the first time this summer, so he wouldn’t have to wait long to see the financial rewards if he did win the starting job in the weeks to come.

Either way, he remains on course to eventually become Ottawa’s number one netminder. Anderson, 32, is signed through 2014-15 and after that, this could be Lehner’s team.

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