Florida-bound team re­ly­ing heav­ily on goalie An­der­son

Ottawa Citizen - - NEWS - DON BREN­NAN dbren­nan@post­media.com

At the end of his post-game me­dia ses­sion on Thurs­day night, Sen­a­tors coach Guy Boucher was once again heap­ing praise on his goalie.

“We’ve been draw­ing a lot of en­ergy and con­fi­dence off him,” he said of Craig An­der­son.

While this is no doubt true, against the Ve­gas Golden Knights the Sen­a­tors also drew some frus­tra­tion off An­der­son. Boucher, too. And it may have cost them any chance of an­other come­back.

The rul­ing on the con­tro­ver­sial fifth Ve­gas goal in what turned out to be a 5-3 Sen­a­tors loss was cor­rect. Not only did An­der­son come out of his crease to bump Wil­liam Car­rier, he also tripped the Golden Knights winger while in the act of kick­ing out his right leg at a puck that had al­ready hit the end boards.

Car­rier re­mained on top of him while Pierre-Edouard Belle­mare sealed the Sen­a­tors’ fate.

Both An­der­son and Boucher were the fo­cus when the call came down that there was no goalie in­ter­fer­ence on the play. An­der­son held his arms out in a WTF ex­pres­sion a num­ber of times and he was still hav­ing dis­cus­sions with ref­eree Corey Syvret a few whis­tles later. Boucher wore a clas­sic look of stunned dis­be­lief.

Later, he said the of­fi­cials’ de­ci­sion de­flated his play­ers, who all en­tered the third pe­riod be­liev­ing they were go­ing to come back and win the game. It looked like that might be the case when the Sen­a­tors scored three unan­swered goals to tie it up.

“I think that fourth (Ve­gas goal), it’s our fault, we weren’t strong enough on our one-onones there,” said Boucher. “That hurt, but you’re only one goal away, you know you’re play­ing well, you’ve got mo­men­tum. Yeah, it hurt. It hurt. It was a de­fla­tor. There was frus­tra­tion. We had to work hard to get the frus­tra­tion away. To get fo­cused. To try to get an­other goal. That was a tough one.”

Mov­ing on from such dis­ap­point­ment is part of the mat­u­ra­tion process for a young team. The lead­ers, and that in­cludes the coach, have to lead the way.

“It’s hu­man na­ture,” Boucher said of pas­sion­ate, if mis­guided re­ac­tions to neg­a­tive de­ci­sions. “Me the first. I was 100 per cent sure this was go­ing to be goalie in­ter­fer­ence ... It’s just mind bog­gling. By the time you get rid of the frus­tra­tion and all that, it’s two goals. If it was one goal, it might have been dif­fer­ent. Guys pushed af­ter, but it was tough.

“But hey, I liked the push­back in the third pe­riod. I liked some of our guys’ games from the be­gin­ning.”

One of those guys was his 37-year old work­horse goalie.

An­der­son, who has been the most me­dia-avail­able Sen­a­tor this sea­son, did not speak to re­porters af­ter the game. He could be heard from the back, off-lim­its area of the dress­ing room, how­ever, and he was still an­gry with the call.

Per­haps there was more to his dis­po­si­tion than the rul­ing. Maybe it was a buildup of things.

The Sen­a­tors were out­shot 42-30. While mak­ing 37 saves, An­der­son had 81 shots fired his way (24 were blocked, 15 went wide) to keep him on his toes for most of the night once again. Head­ing into Fri­day’s ac­tion, he led the league in shots faced (by 90), saves made (by 70) and goals al­lowed (by 10).

He’ll have a good chance at pad­ding those to­tals when he starts Sat­ur­day against the Light­ning. Boucher made that call on Fri­day, when the team prac­tised in Tampa. The Sen­a­tors’ 17th game will be An­der­son’s 15th start and 16th ap­pear­ance.

Back in his home state, An­der­son ad­mit­ted he was “a lit­tle up­set” af­ter the loss to Ve­gas.

“At the end of the day, it’s not the call we wanted but you have to live with it,” he told re­porters. “You can’t change what they say and what they do. You move on, and try to un­der­stand as best you can go­ing for­ward so you’re more knowl­edge­able about it.

“I’ve watched the film. for the most part I’m try­ing to play the puck and the ma­jor­ity in my crease. It’s one of those things where my view is dif­fer­ent than some­body else’s view, and I don’t make the de­ci­sions.

“I just want some clar­ity.” What he’s go­ing to get soon is a seat, as Boucher also stated Mike McKenna would face the Florida Pan­thers on Sun­day in Sun­rise.

Of course that was also the plan for last week­end’s back-to-back games, but it didn’t quite stick to script. While the Sen­a­tors played one of the most em­bar­rass­ing games in fran­chise his­tory, it gave Boucher the op­por­tu­nity to pull An­der­son three goals into a 9-2 loss at the hands of the Sabres.

The next day An­der­son made 41 stops to help Ot­tawa steal an over­time point against Tampa. For the sec­ond straight week­end, he faces Steve Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Bray­den Point and com­pany.

“It’s warm here, it’s nice,” said An­der­son. “We’re com­ing into a good build­ing (Sat­ur­day). There’s go­ing to be a lot of en­ergy. We’re go­ing to have to bring our ‘A’ game.”

The Sen­a­tors will need that, and An­der­son pro­vid­ing the en­ergy and con­fi­dence his team­mates can draw from.

ADRIAN WyLD/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Sen­a­tors goalie Craig An­der­son makes a save as Tampa Bay Light­ning win­ter Nikita Kucherov looks for a re­bound dur­ing last week­end’s game in Ot­tawa. When the two teams meet again to­day, ex­pect An­der­son to face an­other bar­rage of shots.

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