Craig Anderson

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Nicholle Anderson joins NHL’s ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ efforts

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When Nicholle Anderson was diagnosed with cancer, her teaching background kicked in.

”I just wanted to educate people,” she said. ”That’s the teacher in me, so I was never shy to open up about it.”

The wife of Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson began blogging about it not long after being diagnosed last fall with late-stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Nicholle is now cancer-free and after serving as an inspiration to Craig and the Senators last season, she wants to share her experience with others as the NHL and NHL Players’ Association’s latest ”Hockey Fights Cancer” ambassador.

”What it’s done to my life in the last year, if I can take this opportunity and educate everybody about it, I’m going to do it,” Nicholle said by phone Tuesday. ”It’s going to be a little emotional for me, too. I understand that. But the next few weeks I feel like I’m doing good.”

As her husband noted when winning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy last summer for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, Nicholle doesn’t crave the limelight. But after starting cancer treatments and meeting patients afraid to talk about it, she immediately wanted to speak out on the subject.

Nicholle wants people to know that she contracted nasopharyngeal carcinoma from the virus that causes mono, that only seven in a million people get it and that people who feel something is off in their bodies should get it checked out.

She also wants people to know that even though she beat cancer over a span of seven months and several radiation and chemotherapy treatments, it’s ”brutal” behind closed doors and has an impact on a lot of people.

”I got it, maybe a friend of mine will have it, a family member will have it,” Nicholle said. ”Cancer’s reality. I feel like we all need to be proactive here and raise money not just for research but to help everybody because in the long run, everybody’s getting cancer, so it affects everybody.”

The Senators let Craig take time away from the team to be with his family after Nicholle’s diagnosis. The couple have two sons, Jake and Levi. When Craig was on the ice, he went 25-11-4 with a 2.28 goals-against average and .926 save percentage to help Ottawa make the playoffs.

”Nicholle’s strength, she was the one that wanted me to go back and play so much, and we had so much support,” Craig said when accepting the Masterton in June. ”Everyone was there for us.”

Long before Nicholle’s diagnosis, the Andersons dedicated time and energy to helping others. Nicholle was heavily involved in Senators’ charity efforts, and Craig opened their home to teammates to have dinner and watch football on Sundays.

”Just two tremendous people, really giving, caring – great human beings,” said former Senators forward Alex Chiasson, who spent Thanksgiving 2015 at the Anderson home in Florida. ”They’re great people and obviously the battle that Nicholle had to go through and they had to at the same time as a family, I can’t imagine how hard that would’ve been. I think everything’s going better now. She’s gotten some good treatment. Really glad for that family to hear some positive news.”

Nicholle was given a clean bill of health following a CT scan in May. Another test in August showed she was still OK.

”That’s the only thing you’ve been hoping for,” Chiasson said. ”I think all that is much bigger than the game of hockey.”

Nicholle said ”hockey’s not about me,” and she’d prefer to fly under the radar. But after the way people in hockey rallied around her, she’s eager to give back.

”When the cancer card presents itself, everybody knows the fear of it and everybody came together,” Nicholle said. ”If I can get the message out there in this next month to even encourage people to make sure they’re following up on their own doctor visits and cluing in on their body and saying, ‘OK this isn’t normal, I’ve never had this, I need to get checked,’ then I’m doing the right thing.”

The Buzzer: Backstrom dominates, another shutout for Anderson

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Player of the night: Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals

Before the Washington Capitals took the ice in New Jersey on Friday night there was some doubt as to whether or not Nicklas Backstrom would play after he left warmups after taking a puck to the head (he was initially listed as a scratch).

He not only played, he absolutely dominated in the Capitals’ 5-2 win.

Backstrom finished with four points, scoring a goal and adding three assists to help the Capitals bounce back from a tough loss on Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov are all tied for the league lead in points (10) after Friday’s game.

The Capitals may not have the depth that they did a year ago, especially after losing Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson, Kevin Shattenkirk, Karl Alzner and Nate Schmidt over the summer, but they still have some elite players that are going to carry them a long way.

Highlight of the night. 

How can it be anything other than Artemi Panarin‘s first goal as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets? It is a thing of beauty.

Factoid of the night. 

Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson recorded the 39th shutout of his career. That puts him in the top-five among American-born goaltenders.

Misc.

— The Vegas Golden Knights have lost a game. With their loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, as well as the New Jersey Devils’ loss to the Washington Capitals, there are now no more unbeaten teams in the NHL.

— Speaking of the Vegas-Detroit game, Henrik Zetterberg was magnificent for the Red Wings with four points. James Neal also continued his incredible start for Vegas with his sixth goal of the season.

Mike Smith had a brutal night for the Calgary Flames, getting benched after giving up five goals on 22 shots.

— The Colorado Avalanche … dominated? Yeah. They did. Not only did they beat the Anaheim Ducks, 3-1, to improve to 4-1-0 on the young season but they also outshot the Ducks by a 39-18 margin. Has to be concerning if you are a Ducks fan. This game was a classic Randy Carlyle game on the shot chart.

Scores and recaps

Washington Capitals 5, New Jersey Devils 2

Columbus Blue Jackets 3, New York Rangers 1

Colorado Avalanche 3, Anaheim Ducks 1

Ottawa Senators 6, Calgary Flames 0

Detroit Red Wings 6, Vegas Golden Knights 3

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Saturday was awful for great goalies

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Look, there were some good-to-great goalies who enjoyed strong Saturday performances.

Jonathan Quick continued his strong beginning to 2017-18, getting two wins while allowing a single goal as the Kings beat the Sharks 4-1. Corey Crawford snubbed the dangerous Columbus Blue Jackets in Chicago’s 5-1 victory. Braden Holtby got the better of his regular Vezina rival Carey Price. The Nashville Predators still have no answer for Matt Murray. There’s no denying that Marc-Andre Fleury is off to a special start for Vegas, too.

Even in defeat, Craig Anderson sparkled in Ottawa’s shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings. He gave Jonathan Bernier‘s stupendous stop a run for its money here:

Still, as you can see in the video above this post’s headline, it was often a brutal evening for some big-name goalies.

In some cases, the evenings were crushingly short, too, leaving those netminders to stare out in disbelief on the bench as games played out.

  • Henrik Lundqvist only made it through one period against the Toronto Maple Leafs, at times looking shocked that he even stayed out that long. Lundqvist yielded five goals on 17 shots as Toronto dominated early; at one point the Leafs crowd gave Lundqvist a “Bronx cheer” after making a save. Frederik Andersen would end up feeling Hank’s pain, as the Rangers stormed back to tie things up 5-5 heading into the third. The dumb, fun, Leafs also made it a tough night for Lundqvist’s backup, Ondrej Pavelec.

It’s been a very rough start for Lundqvist so far, who might miss having a backup like Antti Raanta to pick up his pieces.

  • Do you think Holtby gets annoyed by all the Carey Price hype?

While Holtby stopped 38 out of 39 shots to frustrate the Montreal Canadiens in Washington’s 6-1 win, Price couldn’t slow down red-hot Alex Ovechkin. Like Lundqvist, Price only made it through one period. In that case, he gave up one Ovechkin hat trick plus a T.J. Oshie goal. After a fantastic debut, this one hurt for the Habs.

  • At least in the cases of Lundqvist and Price, they were facing an onslaught of shots and scary offenses.

Cam Talbot sat on the Oilers’ bench with his mask still on after allowing three goals on just seven shots. It seemed like the Vancouver Canucks were going to embarrass Edmonton, but instead they just humiliated Talbot. Laurent Brossoit didn’t give up a goal, but Vancouver held off Connor McDavid & Co. for a 3-2 upset.

  • Robin Lehner fared a little better than his more highly regarded colleagues, almost making it through half of the Sabres’ eventual 6-3 loss to the Islanders. Still, the angry goalie gave up four goals on 16 shots before making way for Chad Johnson.

Catch up on Bruins, Sabres, Red Wings, more (PHT’s Atlantic Division preview)

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Between August’s “Team of the Day” series and all the other articles that gets published, Pro Hockey Talk generates a ton of material to get you hyped for the 2017-18 season.

With that in mind, it’s understandable if you missed some great stuff. While these collections aren’t comprehensive, consider these divisional previews to be a good way to get hyped for the rapidly approaching season.

For the PHT’s staff picks, click here.

Boston Bruins

Poll/looking to make the leap/

In more immediate Bruins news, Bergeron and Backes seem a little banged-up.

Buffalo Sabres

Poll/looking to make the leap

Detroit Red Wings

Poll/looking to make the leap/

Florida Panthers

Poll/looking to make the leap

Montreal Canadiens

Poll/looking to make the leap

In more immediate news, the Habs made a minor trade.

… And another one:

Ottawa Senators

Poll/looking to make the leap

Tampa Bay Lightning

Poll/looking to make the leap

Toronto Maple Leafs

Poll/looking to make the leap

Senators send prospect d-man Chabot to the minors

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Thomas Chabot has been sent to the American Hockey League, the day after a difficult outing versus the Montreal Canadiens in preseason action.

The Senators lost 9-2 to the Habs. Craig Anderson allowed six goals and Mike Condon wasn’t able to fare much better, giving up three goals on 10 shots. Ottawa, as a team, was held to just 17 shots on goal throughout the entire game. So, it was a nightmare for everyone dressed in a Senators uniform.

Chabot had a minus-five rating, and was reassigned to Belleville in the AHL the following afternoon, the Senators announced.

The Senators had high hopes for Chabot, their 2015 first-round pick, heading into camp, particularly with Marc Methot now in Dallas and Erik Karlsson‘s status for opening night still in question as he continues his comeback from offseason foot surgery. Prior to training camp, Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion had gone so far as to say that he believed Chabot could step into the lineup to begin the season.

Chabot made his Senators debut last season, appearing in one game before he was sent back to junior, where he enjoyed another impressive campaign.

He is still just 20 years old and has shown plenty of potential throughout his junior career, so getting sent to the AHL to help develop his game isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Related:

Looking to make the leap: Thomas Chabot