Ottawa Senators

After sitting last time, Hamburglar gets his shot at B’s

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Last Tuesday, the Ottawa Senators sat red-hot Andrew Hammond in favor of Craig Anderson for a crucial tilt against the Boston Bruins — and lost, 3-1.

Tonight, it’s Hamburglar time.

Ottawa’s season may very well be on the line when it hosts the B’s at the Canadian Tire Centre, and it’ll be Hammond — who’s 11-0-1 in his last 12 starts — with the chance to draw his team within two points of the Bruins in the wild card race.

This is not an insignificant development. Prior to the aforementioned Boston tilt, Sens head coach Dave Cameron said it was Anderson, not Hammond, that gave Ottawa the best chance to win, even though Anderson had missed significant time with a lingering hand injury and had only one game back (a wild 5-4 shootout win over Calgary, in which Ottawa blew a 4-0 third-period lead.)

Cameron also made this pronouncement with Hammond in the midst of a historic hot streak, one the NHL hasn’t seen in a while — in Tuesday’s 2-1 OT win over Carolina, the Hamburglar tied Frank Brimsek’s 77-year-old record by allowing two goals or less in his first 12 big league starts.

This week, Sens GM Bryan Murray tried to put Hammond’s streak into further context.

From the CP:

Murray has seen a couple of goalies on streaks similar to the brilliant run the “Hamburglar” is on: John Vanbiesbrouck and Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Vanbiesbrouck carried the Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup final in 1996, and Giguere got the Anaheim Mighty Ducks one victory from the Cup in 2003.

“I remember Vanbiesbrouck, we would go into Pittsburgh for Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals and they had Ronny Francis and Mario Lemieux and (Jaromir) Jagr — all the big stars — and he wouldn’t let anything in,” Murray said Wednesday at the NHL general managers meeting. “In Anaheim when J-S played, we went into Detroit, they got 50-some shots the first night, 40-some the second night and we win both games and we win four straight.

“It was only because of goaltending.”

Not to harp on this, but remember: Cameron sat Hammond in the midst of this streak, in a huge game for playoff survival. Just a stunning decision, in retrospect.

But retrospect is the key word there. The Sens refused to crumble following that loss to Boston and today, it seems everybody — the head coach included — now knows Hammond gives them the best chance of winning.

“He’s just been awesome,” Cameron said.

Video: Doughty won’t ‘do anything different’ to try and win the Norris

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Drew Doughty is undeniably one of the best defensemen in hockey. Just 25 years old, he’s already hoisted the Stanley Cup twice and won a pair of Olympic gold medals.

But one thing he hasn’t won is the Norris Trophy.

Why is that anyway?

Well, one possibility is that he hasn’t deserved to yet.

Or, maybe he has, but playing in Los Angeles has hurt his chances with Eastern-based voters.

Or, maybe he’d have a better shot if he scored more points, like recent winners Erik Karlsson, P.K. Subban and Duncan Keith.

Regardless, while he’d love to win the Norris one day (“there’s no doubt about it”), he’s “not going to do anything different to try” and win an individual award.

Related: Keith edges Weber, Chara for his second Norris Trophy

Hamburglar wins again, ties 76-year-old record

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Andrew Hammond made 35 saves as the Ottawa Senators edged the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in overtime Tuesday night.

With the win, Hammond improves to 11-0-1 tying Hall of Famer Frank Brimsek’s record by starting his career with 12 straight games allowing fewer than three goals.

Brimsek reached the milestone with the Boston Bruins during the 1938-39 season.

Sens’ forward Kyle Turris set up Mark Stone for the game-winner in highlight-reel fashion with less than a minute remaining in overtime.

Patrick Wiercioch had the other Sens’ goal while captain Erik Karlsson had two assists.

Ottawa has now won four straight and improved to 14-2-2 in its last 18 games. The Sens’ win coupled with the Bruins’ loss to the Sabres moves Ottawa four points back of Boston for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Senators and Bruins meet in Ottawa on Thursday.

Elias Lindholm had the lone Hurricanes’ goal.

Anton Khudobin made 31 saves in the loss.

Goalie nods: With Halak hurt, Neuvirth looks to snap Isles’ skid

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Neuvirth faces ‘Hawks

The New York Islanders are looking to avoid their longest losing streak of the season tonight, but will have to do it without the services of their No. 1 netminder.

Jaroslav Halak will miss this evening’s tilt in Chicago with a lower-body injury, meaning Michal Neuvirth will try to keep the Isles’ skid from extending to four games.

Neuvirth, acquired at the trade deadline from Buffalo in exchange for Chad Johnson, has started three games for the Isles, going 1-1-1 with a .889 save percentage and 2.57 GAA. In his last outing, a 3-1 loss to Montreal on Saturday, Neuvirth allowed just two goals on 29 shots and finished with a .931 save percentage, his best outing as an Islander to date.

For the ‘Blackhawks, Corey Crawford will get the start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Pens at Devils: Thomas Greiss (probable) vs. Cory Schneider

Sens at ‘Canes: Andrew Hammond vs. Anton Khudobin

Sabres at Bruins: (No Buffalo starter yet) vs. Niklas Svedberg

Habs at Panthers: Dustin Tokarski (probable) vs. Dan Ellis

Wild at Preds: Devan Dubnyk vs. Pekka Rinne (probable)

Sharks at Jets: Antti Niemi vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Blues at Flames: Brian Elliott vs. Jonas Hiller

Flyers at Canucks: No starters yet for either team.

More Sens goalie drama as Anderson re-injures hand

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The Hamburglar just got a little more job security.

On Tuesday, Ottawa announced that Craig Anderson has re-aggravated his hand injury and Chris Driedger has been recalled from ECHL Evansville on an emergency basis.

The transaction means that Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond will start once again for the Sens in Carolina tonight and, barring a dramatic turn of events, won’t be leaving the Ottawa crease anytime soon.

It’s an interesting development, to say the least.

Anderson, who missed all of February dealing with his hand injury, returned briefly to the Ottawa net in mid-March while Hammond was in the midst of his incredible hot streak (he’s 10-0-1 heading into tonight’s play.)

Anderson started two games, including a crucial tilt against Boston on Mar. 10 — one the Sens needed to get back into playoff contention. Per head coach Dave Cameron, Anderson gave Ottawa “the best chance to win,” even though Hammond had been virtually unbeatable.

The Sens lost that game, 3-1, and Anderson hasn’t played since.

Ottawa will be a team to watch down the stretch, especially this week. The Sens head into tonight’s action just five points back of Boston with a game in hand, and will take on the Bruins at home on Thursday in a massive game for their postseason chances.