TORONTO – The Ottawa Senators are going right back to Craig Anderson one night after he was given a quick hook.
Senators coach Paul MacLean pulled his top goaltender just 2:25 into Friday’s 5-1 loss in Buffalo, but planned to give him the start against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
“Why? Because he’s our No. 1 goalie,” MacLean said after the morning skate at Air Canada Centre.
Anderson has been pulled three times already this season. He allowed two goals on six shots to the Sabres before getting replaced by backup Alex Auld.
He didn’t speak to reporters on Saturday morning but he did sit down for a chat with the coach. As for what was discussed?
“That’s between Craig and I,” said MacLean.
“Craig Anderson has a leadership position on our team,” he added. “We need him to make sure that he gives us confidence when he’s in the net.”
It’s been a tough start to the season for the 30-year-old, who was outstanding after being acquired from Colorado in February and signed a US$12.75-million, four-year extension over the summer.
Heading into Saturday’s game, Anderson was sporting an .883 save percentage and 3.60 goals-against average—both well below his career average.
“There are a lot of games left,” Anderson told reporters in Buffalo on Friday. “The good thing is we get back at it (Saturday). We get a chance to redeem ourselves.”
The Leafs have been battling some goaltending issues of their own and will give Ben Scrivens his fourth start in the last five games.
The rookie made 38 saves during Thursday’s shootout win in St. Louis, but was pulled last weekend in his lone previous start on home ice. That isn’t something that concerns Leafs coach Ron Wilson.
“That was one game, I’m not going to worry about one game,” said Wilson. “He’s done the job in the two road games. He’s figuring out for himself how he’s got to prepare for the home game. It might be a little bit different.
“He’s going to keep on improving.”