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: