Ottawa Senators

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.

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins aim to complete sweep of Sabres

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Boston Bruins host the Buffalo Sabres at the TD Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The Bruins missed a key opportunity to gain an edge in the battle for the top Wild Card spot when they suffered a 2-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but even with that setback factored in, Boston has been one of the league’s best teams lately.

The problem is the Bruins haven’t been the best squad in recent weeks. Led by rookie goaltender Andrew Hammond, the Ottawa Senators have posted an incredible 11-1-1 record starting with their victory against Montreal on Feb. 18. The Bruins are the only thing standing between Ottawa and a playoff spot and while Boston still has a five-point edge, the Senators are a constant remainder that the Bruins can’t afford to slow down now.

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Tonight’s game against the lowly Buffalo Sabres provides Boston with a great opportunity to pick up two points, but given that it comes just before the Bruins embark on a key road trip to Ottawa, Florida, and Tampa Bay, it’s also is a critical game for them.

Buffalo has lost seven straight, but it might be due for a win after going all the way to the shootout in two of its last three contests, including Monday’s game against Washington.

“It was a really good effort. Skills competition at the end. I’m very pleased with the way we played,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said, per the team’s Twitter feed, after the 4-3 shootout loss. He added, “These guys gave us what they have to give, and that’s all you can ask for.”

His players seemed similarly upbeat following Monday’s contest.

Buffalo will be going for its first win against Boston since Feb. 26, 2014. The silver lining for the Sabres is that they have taken the Bruins to overtime in their last two meetings.

They have the potential to be a thorn in Boston’s sides tonight and make the Bruins’ final weeks of the regular season a little more stressful in the process.

PHT Morning Skate: ‘Hamburglar’ Hammond will get free McDonald’s for life

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, whose often called The Hamburglar, has been given a lifetime card that will provide him with free McDonald’s. “I guess at the end of the day at least I know I’ll never end up starving. If hockey doesn’t work out, I have a meal plan,” Hammond said. (Ottawa Sun)

Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $30,000 league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $3,000. Starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Enter Now!

What happens if the players vote against inflating the salary cap by 5% next season? It turns out it might happen anyways. (Sportsnet)

The Florida Panthers’ competition to be the team’s backup goaltender for a practice has gone from having over 1,500 applications to a pair of finalists: Bill Ruggiero and Dustin Smith. (Panthers.nhl.com)

While recovering from a knee injury, Ryan Miller entered Eddie Lack’s pads competition:

Here are the highlights from Washington’s 4-3 shootout win over Buffalo:

The Buffalo Sabres are considering using some of their draft picks as trade chips. (John Vogl)

Teuvo Teravainen and Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman are upbeat about the 20-year-old forward’s progress. (CSN Chicago)

Hartnell, Talbot, Hammond named NHL’s three stars of the week

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Columbus’ Scott Hartnell and a pair of goalies — the Rangers’ Cam Talbot and Ottawa’s Andrew Hammond — have been named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Mar. 15, the league announced on Monday.

More:

Hartnell led the NHL with five goals and shared second in the League with five points to power the Blue Jackets (30-35-4, 64 points) to three wins in four starts.

Talbot went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .969 save percentage to backstop the Rangers (44-17-7, 95 points) to the No. 1 overall position in the NHL standings.

Hammond posted a 3-0-0 record with a 1.30 goals-against average and .957 save percentage to pull the Senators (33-24-11, 77 points) within five points of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.

March has been a pretty good month for Hammond and Talbot. The former was also named the league’s first star of the week back on Mar. 2, and Talbot was named third star last week.

Zidlicky drawing rave reviews from Red Wings

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Throughout this season, we’ve written frequently about Detroit’s desire to land a right-handed shooting defenseman that could move the puck and man the power play.

It took a while, but the Wings finally found their guy.

Marek Zidlicky, who came over from New Jersey at the deadline for a conditional third-round pick, has seven points in his first seven games as a Red Wing, a streak punctuated by Sunday’s one-goal, two-assist effort in a 5-1 win over the Penguins.

It’s that right-handed shot that caught head coach Mike Babcock’s eye.

“He has a bomb — he can flat out shoot the puck,” Babcock said, per the Detroit News. “To the point where he has to shoot it more on the power play, and he doesn’t mind crosschecking the odd guy.

“He can move the puck, too.”

Through seven games, Babcock has foreshadowed how Zidlicky will likely be utilized for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs. The 38-year-old is hovering around 18 minutes per night, often on a pairing with Brendan Smith, but has already emerged as a fixture on the Red Wings’ power play, averaging 2:46 TOI per game (the only other blueliner to get more is Niklas Kronwall.)

Not coincidentally, Detroit’s power play has scored at least once in every game with Zidlicky in the lineup, going 7-for-25 (28 percent).

“He’s a really good defenseman,” Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg explained, per the Free Press. “He always makes the right play, and he’s so calm. It’s fun to play with him.”

What will be interesting to monitor moving forward, though, is if Zidlicky can maintain a solid clip after a good start — something last year’s trade deadline pickup, David Legwand, struggled to do. Legwand scored nine points in his first 14 games as a Red Wing after coming over from Nashville in early March, but struggled down the stretch: just two points in his final seven games, and none in Detroit’s five-game opening-round playoff loss to Boston.