The most common reactions to Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond are quickly changing from “Who is this guy?” to “How can we beat him?”
While Jonathan Quick continued his own excellent work for the Los Angeles Kings, Hammond was even better, powering the Senators to a startling 1-0 win on Thursday.
Hammond, 27, now has two shutouts in as many nights. He stopped all 35 shots by the red-hot Kings and now owns a 172:22 shutout streak (stopping 123 of the last 126 shots he’s faced).
This is all coming from an undrafted player at an advanced age who didn’t even really have remarkable numbers at lower levels.
Yes, there was some luck. He somehow stopped a point-blank Tyler Toffoli chance while the Kings were pressing on a late power play. There was also an obvious Justin Williams goal that was blown dead because the official lost sight of the puck.
The Senators have now won four games in a row, all with Hammond in net. While they still have a ways to go, they have to be taken seriously in the East wild card race, especially as Boston, Florida and Philadelphia lost at least their most recent games.
At worst, it’s a great story. At best, it’s the beginning of something special for a guy few heard of before Feb. 18.
He’s already acknowledging his nickname, too:
Hammond: "I don't think anybody expected a goaltending battle between Quick and the Hamburgler"
All told, Holtby’s posted a 0.33 GAA and .989 save percentage against Pittsburgh this season, which is unbelievably good. It’s all part of what’s been a banner campaign from the 25-year-old, who is 29-13-9 on the season with a 2.16 GAA, .924 save percentage and six shutouts, second-most in the NHL.
The NHL’s shutout leader? That would be Marc-Andre Fleury, with eight, who will start in goal for Pittsburgh this evening. Should be a good one.
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Here’s the hit in question, which occurred during Ottawa’s 4-1 win on Saturday:
The incident happened early in the second period, with Cowen receiving an interference minor. Jokinen appeared to be shook up initially but didn’t miss any time, finishing the game with 16:21 TOI.
Cowen, 24, did have a history with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety as a repeat offender. Back in December of 2013, he was suspended two games for an illegal check to the heat of Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons:
As a result of today’s suspension, Cowen will miss Ottawa’s next three games: Wednesday in Anaheim, Thursday in Los Angeles and Saturday in San Jose.
Jared Cowen on suspension: “I’m disappointed. I think 3 games is a bit much. I didn’t hurt anyone and I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”
Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen is facing supplemental discipline for a late, high hit on Florida Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen in Saturday’s game.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced via Twitter that Cowen will have a hearing with the league on Monday.
The hit occurred early in the second period, as Jokinen had entered Ottawa territory. He passed the puck off and didn’t appear to be expecting contact, when Cowen caught him up high with the hit. Cowen was assessed a minor penalty for interference. Jokinen was hurt on the play but remained in the game.