Ottawa needed a 21-3-3 run to make the playoffs and throughout that stretch, most of the praise for the Senators’ turnaround was focused on goaltender Andrew Hammond. He certainly was a big part of the their success, but he wasn’t the sole cause of that incredible run. Others stepped up for Ottawa as well during that stretch and the Senators similarly need to provide current starting goaltender Craig Anderson with more support going forward if they going to pull off a second unlikely comeback.
“We’ve kind of been a one line scoring team over the past five or six games. We need some help,” Senators forward Erik Condra said, per the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.
Rookie Mark Stone has three points in the playoffs, Clarke MacArthur has found the back of the net twice, and Mika Zibanejad has a goal and an assist. That covers the full range of Ottawa forwards with at least two points in the first round.
Kyle Turris, who had 35 points in 36 contests after the All-Star break, has been held off the scoresheet for two straight games. Then there’s Bobby Ryan; a 28-year-old forward with four 30-plus goal seasons on his resume and the owner of a seven-year, $50.75 million contract that kicks in next season. He doesn’t have a point yet in this series.
“(Ryan) had some poise tonight, so it was good to see,” Senators coach Dave Cameron said in defense of his player, per the team’s website.
Still, Ottawa needs more out of Ryan. The Senators have tied their future closely to him with that contract. With that in mind, he’ll be one of the key players looked at to be the hero in Game 4.
The fact that the Ottawa Senators made the playoffs at all was an incredible feat. It seems somehow appropriate that their unlikely run has been pushed to the edge of collapse under equally surprising circumstances.
While Montreal was the heavy favorite going into this series, tonight it wasn’t one of the Canadiens’ top-tier players that was the hero. It was 26-year-old Dale Weise, who scored both Montreal goals in its 2-1 overtime win Sunday night.
After dropping the first two contests, Ottawa bench boss Dave Cameron rolled the dice by starting goaltender Craig Anderson over Andrew Hammond. While Anderson had the clear edge when it came to experience, he hadn’t played since March 29 and last won on March 8. Still, for most of the contest it looked like the adjustment would pay off as Anderson stood tall. Given that he stopped 47 of 49 shots, it’s hard to peg this loss on him.
Still, Weise managed to beat him late in the third and the game-winning marker looked like one he could have and perhaps should have stopped:
Weise had just 23 goals in 258 career regular season games and another three markers in 24 playoff contests going into tonight’s action.
With that, Ottawa is now down 3-0 in the series. Against Montreal and goaltender Carey Price, the odds of the Senators battling back are remote. Then again, one could argue that the Senators were in a similar position during the regular season. They defied the odds then. Perhaps they can do so again.
For three straight games, Ottawa has taken a 1-0 lead over Montreal. The Senators couldn’t capitalize on that edge in the first two contests of this first round series though. For a while it looked like Game 3 might be different and while the Senators still have a chance, this one will have to be settled in overtime.
In the midst of a scramble in front of the Senators’ net, Brandon Prust successfully knocked the puck to a wide open Dale Weise, which resulted in Senators goaltender Craig Anderson being in a bad position for the shot:
Anderson, who last played on March 29 and hasn’t won since March 8, has been very effective in this contest. Through 60 minutes he’s turned aside 39 of 40 shots. However, Ottawa hasn’t been able to take full advantage of his stellar play thus far.
The Senators are already down 2-0 in this series, so the stakes are high for them going into overtime.
Craig Anderson will get his first start of these playoffs when the Ottawa Senators play host to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 tonight.
Anderson has made four starts in the last three months. He last played in the Sens’ 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on March 29.
The 33-year-old was 14-13-8 in 35 games this season to go along with a 2.49 G.A.A. and a .923 save percentage.
Anderson led the Sens to a 4-1 series win in the first round of the 2013 playoffs posting a 1.80 goals-against average.
Andrew Hammond started the first two games of the series posting a 3.44 G.A.A. and a .914 save percentage in the two losses.
Anderson isn’t the only lineup change for the Sens tonight.
Chris Neil is expected to return to Ottawa’s fourth line.
During line rushes Sunday morning Neil was skating in place of Alex Chiasson alongside David Legwand and Mike Hoffman.
The 35-year-old had seven points and 78 penalty minutes in 38 regular season games.
Neil last played in the Sens 7-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 14.
Puck drop tonight is at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in today’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Capitals at Islanders, 12 p.m. ET on NBC
Goaltender Braden Holtby is expected to get the startt after missing Game 2 due to an illness. The Capitals will look to build on a 4-3 win on Friday night and take their first lead of the series this afternoon. The Islanders will once again be without defenseman Travis Hamonic due to an undisclosed injury. Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire have the call.
Predators at Blackhawks, 3 p.m. ET on NBC
The Blackhawks will also have a different Game 3 starter when their series with the Predators moves to Chicago’s Untied Center this afternoon. Head coach Joel Quenneville announced Scott Darling will make his first career Stanley Cup playoff start today. Darling made 42 saves in relief of Corey Crawford in Game 1. Meanwhile the Preds will be without captain Shea Weber for both Games 3 and 4 due to a lower body injury. Weber left Game 2 midway through the second period and did not return. Kenny Albert, Brian Engblom and Joe Micheletti will be on the call.
Canadiens at Senators, 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Senators have questions in goal heading into Game 3 tonight in Ottawa. After a nearly perfect 20-1-2 record and 1.79 G.A.A. in the final months of the regular season, Andrew Hammond has lost the first two games of the series with Montreal and there’s some thought head coach Dave Cameron may go with veteran Craig Anderson in goal tonight. The 33-year-old had a 1.80 G.A.A. in the Sens 4-1 series win over the Habs during the 2013 playoffs. Chris Cuthbert and Bret Hedican have the call tonight.
Canucks at Flames, 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN
Friday night’s Game 2 featured six fighting majors, seven game misconducts and three 10-minute misconducts – much of which occurred in the final two minutes of the Canucks 4-1 win over the Flames. Calgary’s head coach Bob Hartley was fined $50,000 as a result of the melee. The series now moves to Calgary where the Flames will host a playoff game for the first time since losing in Game 6 of the first round in 2009. Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Scott Oake have the call of Game 3.