When Ottawa Senators coach Guy Boucher announced that Craig Anderson was returning to the lineup on Saturday afternoon, he said that expectations were not for Anderson to come in and get a shutout or to save the team.
Well, Anderson went ahead and exceeded those expectations during the game.
In his first start since Dec. 5 so he could be with his wife during her battle with cancer, Anderson stopped all 33 shots he faced in a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders to record his fourth shut out of the season in what was only his 20th start.
When we last saw Anderson in the Senators’ net he was allowing seven goals in a blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. On Saturday, he was the exact opposite of that in helping to slam the door shut against a surging Islanders team to give the Senators just their third win in the past seven games. While he was playing a spectacular game in net, the Senators received goals from Mark Stone (his 20th), Zack Smith and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
After Saturday’s game Anderson is now up to a .927 save percentage for the season. Among goalies that have made at least 20 starts this season that is the third best mark in the league, behind only Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk and Washington’s Braden Holtby.