The Ottawa Senators eliminated the Montreal Canadiens from playoff contention with a superb 6-1 win Thursday night. The backbone of the performance was Senators goalie Craig Anderson who has had a phenomenal playoffs and regular season.
Anderson stood on his head in the first period while the Senators tried to find their game. He withstood a furious rush by the Canadiens to start the game. As it has been all season long the young Senators relied heavily on Anderson to keep them in the game until their offense got going.
The Canadiens had five power play opportunities and only converted on one. The Senators penalty kill was outstanding. As all hockey fans know, good penalty killing starts with the man in between the pipes. Anderson faced numerous shots on the power play and did a great job of denying second and third chances. The Canadiens tried to get bodies to the net but since Anderson is a taller goalie, he can see over most players which makes it easier to make saves.
Anderson has brought his strong play during the regular season over to the postseason. If it were not for an injury that cost him some of the season, Anderson would be a Vezina Trophy finalist for top goalie in the NHL. In order to make a run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a lower seed, you need stellar goaltending. Right now, the Senators have the best goalie in the league who proved how good he is by stifling the Canadiens all series long.
The Senators are a dangerous team and they are playing their best hockey of the season right now. With Anderson in net, the Senators have the opportunity to make a deep run in the playoffs.