Tag: Craig Anderson


Burgled: Habs win in OT, take 2-0 series lead vs. Sens


Alex Galchenyuk was turned away on some nice chances earlier in Game 2, giving the sense that he might have been due. If so, his efforts paid off in overtime, as he scored the 3-2 OT winner to give the Montreal Canadiens a 2-0 series lead against the Ottawa Senators.

One could say that the true turning point was the second period, and not just because Montreal turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.

The Habs hogged the puck in the middle frame, generating a 14-3 shot advantage while claiming that lead. The biggest highlight came on P.K. Subban’s emphatic goal.

Montreal had to bite its nails a bit thanks to some sloppy moments in the third period, however. That included some rare mental lapses by Carey Price & Co., including on Patrick Wiercioch’s tying tally.

Fair or not, one cannot help but wonder if the Senators will switch to Craig Anderson over Andrew Hammond in Game 3. “The Hamburglar” has been an out-of-nowhere success, yet goalie nods can be fickle, especially when postseason survival is on the line.

Again, Hammond might not be to blame:

The Canadiens shrugged that setback off and won it in overtime, putting the Senators’ magical season in serious danger. That said, Ottawa has been at its best when the odds have been against them, so Montreal would be wise not to take things lightly as the locale shifts to the Canadian Tire Centre.

Pressing Playoff Question: Which teams should be most worried about their goaltending?

Nashville Predators v St. Louis Blues

Short answer?

Several of them.

The long answer is, well, longer — just consider what’s about to transpire. Goalies in Ottawa (Andrew Hammond), Detroit (Petr Mrazek), Vancouver (Eddie Lack), Winnipeg (Ondrej Pavelec), Minnesota (Devan Dubnyk) and Tampa Bay (Ben Bishop) will all be making their postseason debuts, and we still don’t know who’ll start in St. Louis (Brian Elliott or Jake Allen) or Anaheim (John Gibson or Frederik Andersen). Nashville’s Pekka Rinne ended the year mired in a slump, and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury’s postseason struggles are well documented.

So yeah, just a few goaltending concerns out there.

Let’s start with the unresolved situations in St. Louis and Anaheim. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock hinted Elliott may be the guy based on his body of work against Minnesota this year, but refused to confirm anything — possibly because Allen was the better goalie down the stretch. Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau was even more coy, opting not to elaborate on Gibson’s health (he’s dealing with an injury) or how it could impact the starting goalie gig.

Clear as mud. Moving along…

In Vancouver, head coach Willie Desjardins won’t confirm the obvious — it’ll be Lack, not Ryan Miller, who’ll open against Calgary. Lack took over for the injured Miller in mid-February and impressively backstopped the Canucks to the postseason, with Miller getting just one start over the final two months of the season, a shaky 6-5 OT win over Edmonton in the season finale.

The real question with Lack is the length of his leash. As mentioned above, he’s never made a postseason appearance — a far cry from Miller, who has over 50 on his resume, and was Vancouver’s starter for the majority of the season.

The Vancouver situation is not unlike Ottawa’s. There, Andrew “the Hamburglar” Hammond will roll into the playoffs as the club’s white-hot No. 1, on the heels of a remarkable regular season in which he lost just once — yeah, once — in regulation. But like with Lack, one has to wonder what happens if Hammond falters; sitting behind him is veteran Craig Anderson, who had himself a fine year (2.49 GAA, .923 save percentage) and, lest we forget, won a playoff round for Ottawa in 2013.

Detroit’s in a similar boat to the Canucks and Sens. Jimmy Howard, the No. 1 for most of this year, has been parked in favor of rookie Petr Mrazek. It’s a roll of the dice from Wings head coach Mike Babcock, who’ll be relying on Mrazek — he of the 40 career NHL games — over Howard, who has 45 career playoff games.

Once place with no playoff veteran is Winnipeg, where both Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson are headed to the postseason for the first time. Pavelec’s the No. 1 based on his clutch work down the stretch — the Czech netminder posted three consecutive shutouts to close out his year — but it’s important to note that, for long periods this season, Hutchinson was the Jets’ go-to guy and only had 10 fewer starts than Pavelec did.

Then there’s Tampa Bay and Minnesota.

There’s no question about who’s No. 1 — Bishop and Dubnyk are locked in — but certain unknowns remain. Bishop should’ve gained some much-needed playoff experience a year ago, only to miss the Lightning’s entire opening-round playoff loss to Montreal with a dislocated elbow. How will he respond to the pressure this year? The same question can be asked of Dubnyk who, with his 29th birthday just weeks away, is the oldest of the goalies making their playoff debuts (and the most improbable.)

Finally, there’s Rinne and Fleury. The former hasn’t been very sharp since the All-Star break, going 12-11-4 with a 2.48 GAA and .911 save percentage — a far cry from the Vezina-worthy numbers he posted in the first half. Fleury’s hardly been Pittsburgh’s problem, but he now finds himself in unfamiliar territory; with a defense wrecked by injury and an offense that’s struggling to score, the Pens almost need Fleury to go out and win them some games (as opposed to past years, when all they needed for was him not to lose ’em.)

Scrolling back, that’s 10 of 16 playoff teams mentioned in this article.

Think goaltending might be a hot topic this spring?

Goalie nods: Hamburglar goes for Ottawa

Andrew Hammond

All the latest from the blue paint…

Hammond over Anderson

Yesterday, the Ottawa Senators were mum on who’d start in goal for tonight’s key tilt against Detroit.

This morning, they made it official — Hamburglar gets the nod.

Andrew Hammond will return to the net for the first time since getting shellacked in a 5-1 loss to the Rangers last week; Craig Anderson, who started consecutive losses to Toronto and Florida over the weekend, will revert to backup status… for now.

It remains to be seen what head coach Dave Cameron will do for the remaining seven games of the regular season. Ottawa’s in a dogfight with Boston for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and, at least for now, he’s going with Hammond, who has just one regulation loss in 17 appearances this season.

For Detroit, Petr Mrazek will start tonight — a decision that’s equally as compelling as the one in Ottawa. For more on that, click here.


Panthers at Bruins: Roberto Luongo vs. Tuukka Rask

‘Canes at Caps: Cam Ward vs. Braden Holtby

Devils at Jackets: Cory Schneider vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Bolts at Leafs: Andrei Vasilevskiy (probable) vs. James Reimer

Canucks at Preds: Eddie Lack (apparently) vs. Pekka Rinne

Rangers at Jets: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Andy or the Hamburglar? Sens mum on starting goalie

Andrew Hammond
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The Ottawa Senators have seven games left in the regular season and, based on today’s development, that means about seven more questions of who’ll start in goal.

Another takeaway from today? Don’t expect many advance answers.

“Cameron” is, of course, Ottawa head coach Dave Cameron, who went with Craig Anderson in back-to-back losses this weekend against Toronto and Florida. The decision to start Anderson was made easier by the fact Andrew “the Hamburglar” Hammond was on the limp with a back injury but now, with Hammond declaring himself fit, the decision on who to start gets more complex.

The case for Anderson is based largely around the fact he’s got more experience and has played through playoff battles before (and the Sens are, to borrow a tired cliche, already in playoff mode.) He could hardly be blamed for only securing one of a possible four points this past weekend — the Toronto game was his first in 18 days, and he stopped 33 of 36 shots against Florida — even though people did blame him.

The case for Hammond? Well, I mean, his remarkable hot streak has been pretty well documented. It’s also worth noting that for a team that’s desperate for points, the Hamburglar has just one regulation loss in 17 appearances this season and, despite an ugly five-goal loss to the Rangers last Thursday, still boasts a 1.91 GAA and .938 save percentage.

The only thing for certain here is that we’ll soon know who’s starting in goal. The Sens take on Detroit at Joe Louis tomorrow, at which time Cameron will have to make his choice.

Jagr, Panthers keep pace in wild card race

Florida Panthers v Carolina Hurricanes

Jaromir Jagr scored twice, including the game winner, as the Florida Panthers doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2.

Jagr’s second of the night, and 15th of the season, moves him two points back of former teammate Ron Francis for fourth on the NHL’s all-time points list.

With the win, Florida moved four points back of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers trail the Senators by just one point.

Ottawa now trails Boston by three points.

“Everybody knows how important it was to win this game. It was Game 7 for us,” said Jagr. “We just have to get ready for the next Game 7 against Boston.”

Jagr’s agent met with Panthers’ GM Dale Talon on Saturday. The two sides appear interested in getting a deal done, but right now the focus is on the playoff race.

“Nobody really gives those kids any credit,” said Jagr of the young team in Florida. “How young they are, they’re so talented. They’re going to surprise the league in two years. They might win the cup the way and they’re going to get better and better. They don’t even have to do anything and they’re going to get better.”

Jussi Jokinen and Dave Bolland had the other Panthers goals while Dan Ellis made 25 saves for the win.

Florida has points in three straight games and five of their last six.

Senators captain Erik Karlsson scored his 20th of the season and Jean-Gabriel Pageau had the other for Ottawa. The Sens have lost three straight for the first time since Feb. 3-7.

Craig Anderson made his second straight start and made 33 saves in the loss.