Pretty dramatic turn in the Andrew Hammond narrative today — after a scintillating run as Ottawa’s No. 1 netminder, the Hamburglar will sit for a second straight game on Tuesday when the Sens take on the B’s in a game rife with playoff implications.
What’s more, Ottawa head coach Dave Cameron gave strong support for Anderson as his starter:
This development comes one day after Ottawa’s wild 5-4 shootout win over Calgary, a game in which the Sens held a 4-0 lead in the third period before Calgary scored four times in just under 12 minutes to even things up.
While Anderson did surrender the lead, he was hardly at fault as Ottawa’s leaky team defense allowed 46 shots on goal, including 24 in the final frame.
After the contest, Cameron was full of praise for Anderson — who was playing for the first time since Jan. 21 due to a hand injury.
“We give him lots of work. I thought he was real good. Real, real, real good. It’s good to see him back, see him healthy again,” Cameron said, per NHL.com. “I hope he’s not allergic to rubber. He’ll be dead.”
Ottawa’s goaltending situation has become a major storyline over the last two weeks. The club has — somewhat improbably — gone 10-1-2 over its last 13 games and vaulted back into playoff contention, mostly with Hammond in net.
With a regulation win tomorrow, Ottawa could draw to within three points of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference — with a game in hand on the B’s.
Anderson makes his first start in over a month
Craig Anderson will make his first start since Jan. 21 when the Ottawa Senators play host to the Calgary Flames tonight. Anderson suffered a bruise to his blocker hand during a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and hasn’t played since. The 33-year-old is 13-11-7 this season to go along with a 2.37 G.A.A. and a .927 save percentage.
Karri Ramo gets the nod for the Flames.
Oilers at Hurricanes: Richard Bachman vs. Cam Ward
Flyers at Devils: Steve Mason vs. Keith Kinkaid
Avalanche at Wild: Semyon Varlamov vs. Devan Dubnyk (unconfirmed)
Rangers at Blackhawks: Cam Talbot vs. Corey Crawford
The Ottawa Senators will hold off on contract negotiations with goaltender Andrew Hammond until after the season.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Sens don’t want to “pollute” the 27-year-old with contract talks. Friedman spoke on the subject during the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada:
He’s a restricted free agent after this season. He’s a great story. You just check. Are they talking at all to extend him? The answer is no. They don’t want to pollute, was the word I heard, everything that’s going on right now. Don’t bring contract talks into it. They’ll wait until after the season.
Hammond is 7-0-1 with a .954 save percentage and a 1.43 goals-against average in nine games this season helping Ottawa get to within five points of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Prior to joining the Sens, Hammond was 7-13-2 in 25 AHL games posting a 3.51 GAA and an .898 save percentage.
Goaltender Chad Johnson didn’t even get into a game for the Buffalo Sabres yet his season could be over.
The 28-year-old, who was acquired by the Sabres from the New York Islanders on Monday, suffered a lower body injury during the team’s morning skate on Friday and did not dress against the Ottawa Senators.
“Chad, unfortunately, hurt something lower body and he’ll be out for a while,” coach Ted Nolan said per The Buffalo News. “Not day-to-day, it’ll be for a while.”
The Sabres recalled Andrey Makarov and the 21-year-old backed-up Anders Lindback in the 3-2 loss to the Sens.
With 17 games left in the season, could Johnson’s injury be season-ending?
“It possibly could be,” Nolan said. “We’ll get our doctors to look at him, and we’ll see what happens.”
Johnson was 8-8-1 with a 3.08 G.A.A. and an .889 save percentage in 19 games with the Islanders prior to the trade.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Devan stays busy
More of the same for Minnesota tonight — Devan Dubnyk will start when the Wild take on the Hurricanes in Carolina.
Tonight will mark Dubnyk’s 23rd straight start, a stretch in which he’s showed zero signs of fatigue or slowing down. He’s gone 17-3-1 during his time with the Wild, posting a 1.62 GAA, .939 save percentage and five shutouts.
At this stage — given his stellar play and heavy workload — one has to wonder if Dubnyk could slide into Vezina contention as one of the three finalists. The only category he’s not among the league leaders is wins (26), but is tied for 10th overall, which isn’t too shabby.
For Carolina, Anton Khudobin will be in goal.
Jackets at Devils: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Cory Schneider
Sabres at Sens: Chad Johnson vs. Andrew Hammond
Flames at Wings: Jonas Hiller vs. Jimmy Howard
Oilers at ‘Hawks: Ben Scrivens vs. Corey Crawford
Pens at Ducks: Marc-Andre Fleury (probable) vs. Frederik Andersen (probable)