Work­load weigh­ing on Leafs goalie An­der­sen

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JONAS SIEGEL

TORONTO — Fred­erik An­der­sen is headed for one of the busiest sea­sons in NHL his­tory.

The 27-year-old is on pace to face 2,173 shots in his first sea­son with the Toronto Maple Leafs in what would be the 15th high­est to­tal ever. Only 31 times in league his­tory has a goal­tender faced even 2,100 shots in a sin­gle sea­son — Pekka Rinne and Cam Ward the last to do so five years ago.

Fac­ing four shots per game more this sea­son than last with Ana­heim, An­der­sen should blow by a ca­reer­high for shots f aced in one sea­son by the week­end. But the busy work­load hasn’t come with­out a hitch or two in the first go-around for An­der­sen, a part-time starter pre­vi­ously with the Ducks.

An­der­sen has posted an .894 save per­cent­age since Jan. 1. That in­cludes a su­perb 38-save ef­fort in a 2-1 over­time de­feat against St. Louis on Thurs­day night.

“Well, it hasn’t been good enough but there’s times in the year you have lit­tle dips,” Leafs coach Mike Bab­cock said be­fore f ac­ing the Blues. “You’ve just got to make sure you work hard ev­ery sin­gle day and those dips are shorter and they don’t hap­pen as of­ten. “So that’s the chal­lenge for him.” Un­like Cam Tal­bot, who’s been rather con­sis­tent while lead­ing the league both i n shots faced and starts for the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers, An­der­sen has been up and down. There were sig­nif­i­cant Oc­to­ber woes (.876 save per­cent­age), stu­pen­dous highs i n Novem­ber and De­cem­ber (.939), and a se­ries of lows in Jan­uary and early Fe­bru­ary.

He hasn’t been helped at times, ei­ther, by the Leafs’ some­times wob­bly de­fen­sive play.

An­der­sen says he and Leafs goalie coach Steve Briere take that into ac­count when eval­u­at­ing per­for­mance. Some­times an op­po­nent might score five and “you feel worse than you ac­tu­ally played” and other times the stat-line might look great but was more the re­sult of strong team play.

“You’ve got to take own­er­ship of what you can do,” said An­der­sen, stuck on 99 ca­reer wins for al­most a week. “Say it’s a big scor­ing chance; you’ve still got to look at what (you) could’ve done in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion.

“That’s how you learn and get bet­ter.”

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