If there was any good to come out of the injury to Craig Anderson during a critical stretch for the Senators, it's that his backup was able to be himself again.

And for Robin Lehner, being himself means not being a backup.

Lehner has never played second fiddle to another goalie on the same team in his life, but this season, his first full season in the NHL, he had to assume that role behind Anderson.

That meant playing just three times in October, only twice as the starter. Talk about being eased into the league. He then saw action nine times in November, but only because Anderson was injured. And in three straight starts early that month, all he did was allow four goals and earn recognition as the NHL's player of the week.

The reward? His nice warm seat on the bench was waiting for him just as soon as Anderson was ready to go again.

Lehner played seven games in December, then just two in January and three in February as he went back to collecting rust. Clearly, he was out of synch and remained that way into March, until Anderson's whatever prevented him from playing, at which point Lehner became the No. 1 guy with the season on the line.

A true fighter, he battled through his struggles and regained his confidence and form during the most recent road trip.

Lehner made 115 saves while giving up just eight goals during games in Dallas, Tampa and Florida, putting at ease the minds that questioned whether he still has what it takes to be the Senators goalie of the future.