No Garden party on MSG ice for Anderson
DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
|Senators goaltender Craig Anderson makes a save against the Rangers during Game 5 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., April 21, 2012. (RAY STUBBLEBINE/Reuters)
SECAUCUS, N.J. - It’s not exactly a thumbs-up Broadway review.
“The ice has been average at best,” Senators goalie Craig Anderson said of Madison Square Garden. “It’s been kind of choppy, snowy and the lights there are kind of dim. It’s nothing like any of the other buildings we’ve played in.
“I guess I’ve been lucky in that building, or however you want to say it ... it’s just one of those buildings where I’ve had success. There’s really no reason for it.”
There’s also no denying it. When Anderson plays at MSG, the New York Rangers have trouble scoring.
With two playoff wins there this spring, Anderson’s career record in Manhattan is now 8-1. His goals against average is a tidy 1.42 and his save percentage a sterling .957 heading into Game 7 Thursday night.
“I just go in there with the same mind-set as any other building, just go out there and give the team an opportunity to win,” said Anderson. “I’ve just been fortunate that the teams I’ve played on, we’ve won a few games in there.”
Anderson does like the electricity in the world’s most famous arena.
“The crowd, sometimes that can help you play a little better,” he said. “You always want to play in a building that has energy. More energy is more fun. They have great fans there, they have a lot of energy in that building. I think that helps with your focus.”
The Senators are 4-1 at MSG this season. A win Thursday would mark just the second time they have claimed three road victories in one series. They also did so in defeating the Buffalo Sabres for the 2007 Eastern Conference banner.
Asked what the Senators have to improve on from Game 6, Anderson shrugged.
“I’m just a goalie,” he said. “I just stop the puck. We have to score more goals than them. I need to stop more pucks than Henry (Lundqvist). The x’s and o’s is not my department.”
But the Senators’ chances of advancing to Round 2 rest with him. If Anderson lets in a bad goal, they could be done for the season.
One is all a team sometimes needs when Lundqvist is its goalie.
“We’ve played well all series,” said Anderson. “We’ve been in every game. We’ve obviously found ways to win three games, and it could be a lucky bounce that wins the series. You don’t know. You’ve just got to go out there and play hard, give it your all and see where the chips lay.”