OTTAWA — Ottawa’s Craig Anderson is keeping a steady glove with two quality backups waiting behind him for their chance.
Anderson has been rock solid as the Senators’ starter with Robin Lehner serving as backup and Ben Bishop also on Ottawa’s roster. If there was any goaltending controversy brewing, Anderson has stomped it out just two games into the season.
“I have to get out there and battle hard in practice and show the players that I’m ready to play,” Anderson said after making 31 saves in a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers on Monday.
Anderson has let in just one goal to start the season after turning aside 27-of-28 shots in the season opener Saturday in Winnipeg.
“Craig has certainly showed that he’s prepared to play and he’s put in the work necessary to be ready to go and that’s the kind of quality goaltending we expect from him,” said Senators head coach Paul MacLean, who said during the abbreviated training camp that Anderson was the No. 1 guy but that whoever performed the best heading into the season would get the start in Winnipeg.
“Craig’s our No. 1 goaltender, and we have to get him into the games and he’s the best guy.”
The starting job should have been Anderson’s to lose simply based on his performance last season when he won 33 regular-season games and almost single handedly led his team to an unexpected playoff berth.
He almost won that series by himself as well as the Senators took the regular-season Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers to a seventh game in the opening round.
Anderson had a 2.00 goals against average in the series along with a .933 save percentage and one shutout.
“My job is just to look forward and give the team an opportunity to win. I just have to worry about what I can do to make the team better and keep striving to make myself better,” Anderson said when asked if he thought it was unfair that starter’s job wasn’t assumed by all involved.
“At the end of the day you have to get the job done, and if I came in here and was a little shaky or rusty, one of these guys would probably step up and help the team. My goal is to be the starter and keep getting better and help the team. When we’ve got multiple guys that can do that it just makes the team better.”