Silver Nuggets: Craig Anderson's improvement
You are likely aware that the Ottawa Senators have gone 10-1-2 in the last 13 games. You may also notice that checking the NHL goals against average or save percentage leaders, one has to click on the next page button to find the Ottawa goaltender. Not counting shootouts, Ottawa has scored 46 goals in this 13 game run and allowed 32. The Senators have scored four goals or more in all but three of the ten wins. So while it isn't fair to say that Craig Anderson is carrying the team, the Senators are certainly not winning despite their goaltender any more.
For the first time this season, Craig Anderson has a goals against average under 3, sitting at 2.99 right now. His save percentage, having been in the .890 range for much of the season is up to .906 after last night. It is no wonder that the Senators have gone from hanging around a playoff spot to opening up a sizeable lead. In the last eight games (after Anderson's disaster against the Canadiens), the Senators have gone 7-0-1 with Anderson starting the last seven of those games and playing the majority of the eighth in relief. Anderson has played 478 minutes in that span allowing 13 goals on 250 shots. That is a .948 save percentage and a 1.63 goals against average. He has allowed two goals or less in six of the eight games.
Ottawa is not winning simply because of its goaltending (although last night they did), but Craig Anderson is now contributing to the team's success. Anderson had a lot of regressing to the mean to do and he is almost there. His overall numbers for the season are still below average, but can he continue to give the Senators excellent goaltending, or at the very least give them not terrible goaltending?
- Recap from last night's win. (Silver Seven, Blue Shirt Banter, Ottawa Sun, Ottawa Citizen)
- Scoring chances from last night. Second line was good, first line was not. But the first line scored all three goals anyway. (The 6th Sens)
- The average age of the nine players who see more ice time than Erik Karlsson is 28.55 years. Plus, Craig Anderson has improved his save percentage every month this season. (Senators Extra)
- Nikita Filatov is happy to pick up his first point in the KHL this season. (RT)
- The Binghamton Senators will play the Syracuse Crunch tonight, the same opponent against which Robin Lehner absolutely lost it. Lehner is eligible to play tonight but there is no word on whether he will. (Press & Sun-Bulletin)
- Bruce Garrioch writes about former Senator Brian Elliott making the all-star team. (Ottawa Sun)
- Interesting article here, that first line players are not more likely to get into better scoring areas, but they are better at scoring on them. Essentially "shot quality' is the same for most players. Is that what you would expect? (Arctic Ice Hockey)
- Bob McKenzie writes a lengthy piece about the big trade between Montréal and Calgary last night involving Rene Bourque and Mike Cammalleri. (TSN)