Senators go with veteran Anderson in goal for Game 3
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Veteran goalie Craig Anderson will start over Andrew Hammond for the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against Montreal on Sunday.
Coach Dave Cameron called it a “coach’s decision” to put in Anderson as the series switches to Ottawa after a pair of losses with Hammond in goal in Montreal.
Cameron also expects to insert veteran forward Chris Neil into the third line in place of Alex Chiasson. Neil hasn’t played a game since Feb. 14.
“I thought the team, top to bottom, could have done better,” Cameron said of his team’s 4-3 and 3-2 defeats to open the series.
“That fact that your other goalie is a proven NHL goalie goes into the decision too.”
Hammond, nicknamed “The Hamburgler”, was spectacular in the Senators’ late-season push for a playoff spot. The previously unheralded goaltender went 20-1-2 down the stretch.
Anderson has played only four times since Jan. 21, going 1-2-1.
Hammond’s disappointment was evident in his voice, even as he said all the right things about understanding the decision and putting the team first.
“Personally, it’s disappointing,” he said. “You want to play every game; every goaltender wants to play every game. But all you can do at this point is be ready and support everything the team’s doing right now.
“I’m not frustrated. There’s no point in getting frustrated right now. It’s not going to help anything. All I can do is rally with the team and, most importantly, we need a win.”
Hammond looked shaky in the series opener, but made 39 saves in Game 2, when he was beaten by the Canadiens’ Alex Galchenyuk in overtime.
Anderson was excited to get back in the net.
“I’m just going to focus on giving the team a chance to win,” Anderson said. “It’s just getting your timing back, not trying to do too much and just being patient.
“We work hard in practice and try to make it as game-like as we can, and try to mimic some stuff. It’s a matter of being patient and letting the game come to myself.”
He had high praise for what Hammond did for the team on its run to the playoffs.
“Hammond came in here and did a wonderful job,” he said. “He got us to where we are right now.
“That’s a credit to him and a credit to the guys in the room. For myself, I was battling back trying to get back from injury and trying to get myself back to a point where I felt good on the ice. Because of what he did, I’m in the situation now talking to you (reporters). I actually owe him a thank you and a pat on the back.”
The Senators are hoping for similar results to the previous postseason matchup. In 2013, Anderson was the star as the Senators upset the Canadiens in five games of a first-round series.
“I guess it’s something to fall back on, kind of put those good memories in your head and replay some of those images to give yourself a bit of a confidence boost,” Anderson said.
Canadiens defenseman Tom Gilbert isn’t concerned about who Ottawa puts in goal.
“We’ve seen (Anderson) a lot, we know what to expect,” Gilbert said. “It doesn’t matter to us who’s in net, it’s about what we’re doing.”