On a quiet night in terms of game action on Thanksgiving, the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-2. The Canucks went on a goalscoring parade, scoring four goals in the first nine minutes and 22 seconds of the second period. Daniel Sedin, Jason Garrison, David Booth and Dale Weise all put the puck in the back of the net against goaltender Craig Anderson.
Anderson was then pulled for backup goaltender Robin Lehner and watched the rest of his team’s loss from the bench.
The struggles of Anderson are not something new to the Senators this year, and it is pretty much the major reason why they now sit at 10-12-4. He was coming off the best year of his career, albeit in only 24 games. He posted a 1.69 GAA and a .941 save percentage. This year, Anderson has a 3.36 GAA and a .899 save percentage. In fact, he has given up three or more goals in 11 of 17 games this season.
Overall, the Senators are 25th in the NHL, giving up 3.1 goals per game. The number would be higher if not for the play of Lehner as the backup. Entering tonight, Lehner had a 2.40 GAA and a .938 save percentage. If you go by record, Lehner is 4-4-2 and Anderson has now fallen to 6-8-2. So either way you look at it, Lehner has outperformed Anderson in net.
The question remains, when will this start to lead to a change in the ratio of playing time distribution? The Senators are six points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and although it is early, the team has to be disappointed in what they have seen from Anderson so far this year.
Expect them to stick with Anderson as their no. 1 for a little while longer, but four straight games with four goals allowed is just not good enough by any means.