Sens' Anderson returning Friday
DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
|Sens goaltender Craig Anderson is expected to be back in the lineup on Friday. (Errol McGihon/QMI Agency)
OTTAWA - The sagging Senators will get a strong shot in the arm or two for Friday’s game in Montreal against the Habs.
The big news is that Craig Anderson will suit up and start in goal for the first time since slicing the pinky finger in his blocker hand Feb. 22. There had been speculation that the team’s No. 1 goalie might need a little more practice before getting back between the pipes, but after a meeting with coach Paul MacLean Thursday, he was declared the starter against the Habs.
“I feel pretty good out there,” said Anderson, who has a 29-19-6 record, a .913 save percentage and a 2.85 goals against average this season. “I had a good practice today. Everything’s kind of back on track.”
Meanwhile, helping an offence that has managed just five goals in the last four games should be No. 1 centre Jason Spezza, who missed Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils with an “illness” but fully participated in Thursday’s practice.
“I’m getting better,” said Spezza, who leads the Senators with 75 points in 73 games. “It’s good to get out and skate, get a little bit of sweat on.”
Along with getting Anderson and Spezza back, the Senators are hoping to see the return to form of their power play. It has produced just two goals in the last nine games, and while Spezza played in eight of them, there’s no question the chances of a turnaround are better with the team’s top centre back in uniform.
“He’s fifth in the league in scoring. When you miss that in your lineup, you’re missing a lot,” said MacLean.
Anderson’s return means a backup role for Ben Bishop, who was 3-2-2 in starting the last seven games. The team will carry three goalies, including veteran Alex Auld, who will watch this one from a seat in the press box.