Anderson steals Saber victory
DJ Smith never doubted. Not a second.
In the middle of the day, Monday, the Ottawa Senators head coach released his starting goalkeeper.
He decreed that Craig Anderson would face the Buffalo Sabers in the evening at the Canadian Tire Center.
Not a little risky, coach, to send a veteran who has hardly played for three weeks into the fray?
“No,” he replied, without waiting. If it was a younger goalkeeper, I would be worried. But Craig really knows our league very well. He has been playing for so long … He is perfectly capable of returning to the game to deliver a great performance. ”
And that’s exactly what happened.
Anderson didn’t look too rusty in the evening when he made 43 saves to win his sixth game of the season.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brady Tkachuk were the other two heroes of the evening. The first scored his team’s first two goals. The other scored three points in a 3-1 victory.
“Rest is a weapon,” said Anderson when he appeared before reporters after the game.
It was a nod to Smith’s predecessor, Guy Boucher. At one time, the Quebec coach used this phrase to the media on a daily basis.
Anderson was happy, but he must have been looking forward to leaving Kanata. He must fly to Florida early Tuesday morning. He is going to join his wife and two boys for Christmas Eve.
” It is deserved. All of our goalies have been solid since the start of the season, but the performance was truly remarkable, ”said Tkachuk.
This performance is remarkable, among other things, because the Sabers do not have a pea shooter attack. They’ve managed to get back into the playoff race lately because their young stars took charge at the same time.
Rasmus Dahlin landed in Ottawa riding a five-point streak in his last five games.
Sam Reinhart has collected 10 points in his last nine games.
Jack Eichel? Eichel had participated in the scoring in the last 18 games of the Sabers. The incredible streak began on November 16 in Buffalo in a game where he scored four goals against the Senators and Anderson.
DJ Smith had no doubts about his goalkeeper. That doesn’t mean he felt comfortable when he got behind the players’ bench.
It was the last game before the Christmas break. The advantage of ice does not usually work in the last game before Christmas.
It is rather the visitors who benefit.
“I don’t know the exact statistics, but I believe that last year only one home team won on December 23,” he said.
We checked. He was not speaking through his hat. On December 23, 2018, eight matches were shown. Seven matches were won by the visiting team.
“I don’t blame the players,” said Smith. This is not obvious. When you are at home, you often have visitors. You are concerned about last minute shopping. You don’t necessarily have the head in hockey … ”
Smith was nevertheless convinced that his players would work hard. “Since the start of the season, I have been disappointed with the team’s effort only twice. And these were two matches played abroad. ”
The Senators, casually, continue to accumulate points with the infirmary overflowing. Thomas Chabot played more than 30 minutes.