Goalie Anderson stands tall in Senators' victory over Penguins
OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators are alive in this series.
More concerning for the Penguins is that Ottawa's goalie is alive and well.
The Penguins made one glaring mistake in Game 3, but they also managed only one goal on a night when Craig Anderson stole the show, which allowed the Senators to steal a game at the other end of the rink in a 2-1, double overtime thriller.
“You must give him credit,” said the Penguins' Tyler Kennedy, the only man to beat Anderson on Sunday night. “We were getting a ton of shots on him. But he was really, really good tonight.”
Anderson preferred to give his teammates credit, especially captain Daniel Alfredsson, who tied the game with a late, stunning short-handed goal.
“He's Mr. Clutch,” Anderson said.
The same could be said of Anderson.
It wasn't just that the Penguins peppered him with 50 shots on goal. Just as notable was which players were firing the shots.
Evgeni Malkin finished with a game-high 10. He also had five shots blocked and missed the net once.
Many of Malkin's shots came during golden scoring opportunities — none greater than the rush he orchestrated during the first overtime.
Malkin weaved through multiple Senators, turning the sellout crowd silent. It would have been perhaps the greatest goal of his career had Malkin beaten Anderson.
Instead, it became the signature save of Anderson's performance.
Malkin beat the whole team but couldn't beat the goaltender, who used a desperate kick save to keep the puck out of harm's way.
“Obviously Anderson played really well,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “We fired a ton of shots on him. We had a lot of chances to win it.”
Malkin contributed to 20 percent of the Penguins' shots, but he wasn't the only big name to have opportunities to give the Penguins a commanding 3-0 series lead.
Defenseman Kris Letang recorded seven shots on goal and attempted 15 shots.
Right wing James Neal launched five shots on Anderson, while right wing Pascal Dupuis produced five shots and hit the post in overtime.
Center Sidney Crosby, meanwhile, couldn't have asked for a better scoring opportunity than in the second period. In the period's early moments, Crosby split the defense and found himself on a late-developing breakaway. He attacked Anderson with a shot that has worked on many occasions — a quick wrist shot to the upper-right corner — but it was denied by the goaltender's glove.
“We had a lot of scoring chances,” Niskanen said. “That's a good thing.”
That Anderson is suddenly engaged in this series might be a bad thing for the Penguins.
He had permitted seven goals in 81 minutes during the first two games in Pittsburgh before being yanked following Crosby's hat-trick goal in Game 2.
In this contest, he permitted just one goal in 87 minutes.
“He just played a good game,” Letang said. “It's not like we didn't have chances to score.”
Anderson, who led the NHL in goals against average and save percentage this season, played only 24 of 48 games because of injuries.
He entered the game 2-4-1 lifetime against the Penguins while a member of the Senators.
For one night, at least, Anderson stopped the Penguins. On Wednesday night, the Penguins will get another crack at him.
“The guy played a good game,” Kennedy said. “We just have to regroup and keep working.”