Penguins get to Senators goalie Anderson early in Game 1 win
The Ottawa Senators rode their red-hot goaltender into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but Craig Anderson pointed the finger at himself after losing the series opener to the Penguins.
One of the NHL's hottest goalies in the first round — when he posted a 1.80 goals-against average and .950 save percentage, allowing only nine goals in five games against Montreal — Anderson shouldered the blame for Ottawa's 4-1 Game 1 loss Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center.
“I didn't give the team a chance to win,” Anderson said. “I've got to lead by example. I've got to go out there and do the job.”
Anderson didn't allow more than three goals in any game in the first-round series against the Canadiens, but he gave up four in his first game against the Penguins. Ottawa coach Paul MacLean absolved Anderson from blame by noting that two of the Penguins' goals came on the power play. The Senators were 0 for 5 with the man advantage.
“I'm not sure we can fault our goaltender for not being good in the game,” MacLean said. “I think, overall, our penalty killing and our special teams play ended up being the difference of the game.”
That two of the goals came with a man-advantage and two of the world's best players on the ice provided little consolation to Anderson, who was 0-3 in the regular season.
“Their power play is good,” Anderson said. “We knew that going in; if we want to have a good chance to win a game, we're going to have to shut down their special teams. That's huge for them. If we're able to kill those off, it's a different game. We're right there with them.”
Defenseman Paul Martin scored a power-play goal on a slap shot from the right point for a 1-0 lead at 2:41 of the first period, and Evgeni Malkin made it 2-0 on a cross-ice pass from Chris Kunitz at 12:15.
Kunitz added a power-play goal late in the second for a 3-1 lead, and Pascal Dupuis scored a short-handed goal in the third.
“I think he (had) a solid game,” Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson said of Anderson. “If you look at the goals they scored, it's (on) individual skills goals. Sometimes there's not much you can do. I don't think it will affect the team or him in any way. He played as he's always done.
“It's just that the pucks hit the spots where they're impossible to (save).”
Still, Anderson sees room for the Senators to improve in this series.
Starting with himself.
“You can always be better,” he said. “I don't know. It's hard to say. I could replay all the goals and say, ‘What would I do differently?' But at the end of the day, I didn't stop them.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
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