Anderson the key to Sens playoff hopes

Anderson the key to Sens playoff hopes
Posted on December 28, 2013 | James O'Grady | Written on December 28, 2013
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In goaltending, rhythm is everything.

The Ottawa Senators have had difficulty this year putting together a winning streak of more than three games, let alone back to back wins. Part of the reason is that their goaltending has not been as strong as it was last year. Particularly, the Senators #1 goalie Craig Anderson has struggled to find his rhythm. Anderson was a pillar for the Senators last year. He will need to be again if the Sens are to make a playoff run in the second half of the season.

Last year, Senator goaltenders combined for a .931 save percentage, tops in the NHL. Whether it was Anderson, Lehner or Tampa’s new goaltending phenom Ben Bishop, the Sens net minders kept their team in almost every game, propelling the Senators into the playoffs for the second year in a row despite serious injuries to the Senators top four players: Spezza, Michalek, Karlsson and Anderson.

If Monday’s 5-0 shutout of the high flying Pittsburg Penguins and tonight’s 4-3 triumph over the Boston Bruins are any indication though, it looks like Anderson is finally finding his rhythm and rounding into top form again. That’s a good thing because its taken Craig Anderson half a season to get back in sync after suffering an ankle injury midway through the 2012 season. At that time, he was on his way to winning the Vezina trophy for his stellar play—calm, cool and dialed in, giving up few if any rebounds. His concentration level last year was unlike any goaltender I’ve seen.

Because the Sens young defense continues to struggle in its own zone, the Senators need their #1 goalie to raise his game and play consistently at a very high level for the remainder of the season if they are to rediscover the rhythm and edge that helped them make the playoffs last year and upset the Montreal Canadiens in the first round in such a dominant fashion.

James O'Grady
Ottawa Senators Season ticket holder

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I am a social media entrepreneur, communications professional, part-time school teacher and community leader living in Nepean, Ontario. I am also a hockey goaltender, political hack and most importantly, an advocate... More