Saturday, March 29, 2014
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Sens Top Blackhawks In Anderson's Return

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[March 29, 2014]  OTTAWA  Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson started to make up for lost time Friday night.

Returning from an undisclosed upper-body injury that resulted in 18 days between starts, Anderson made 46 saves as the Senators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 in front of 18,922 fans at Canadian Tire Centre.

The win was crucial for the Senators, who pretty well need to run the table to have any chance of making the playoffs.

Anderson's heroics included stopping 21 of 23 shots in the second period as the Senators bent, but did not break while guarding a 3-0 lead.

"He was well rested so he was ready for the onslaught that came in the period," Senators coach Paul MacLean said of his No. 1 netminder. "Anytime you beat the Stanley Cup champion, it's a big night for your team. We knew that in playing them, we were going to play without the puck for a majority of the game, so we had to make sure we played well defensively.

"They made us play in our zone, it was a difficult second period. But I thought we stayed true to our defensive work and we allowed our goalie to be the goalie. That ended up being a big difference in the game ... that going into the third we were still ahead."


The Senators were led by winger Clarke MacArthur, who had a goal and two assists. Also scoring for Ottawa were wingers Erik Condra and Milan Michalek, center Kyle Turris and defenseman Cody Ceci.

Wingers Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa and defenseman Brent Seabrook replied for Chicago.

Backup goalie Antti Raanta was given the start between the pipes and faced 29 shots.

"It was a frustrating one out there," said Sharp. "I thought we had a good second period, but did a lot of things in the first and third that ultimately cost us the game.

"We had the puck a lot, we created some scoring chances, we did some good things with it at times in the game, but a few mistakes ended up in the back of our net."

The Senators head start began with a short-handed effort by Condra midway through the first period. They added goals 53 seconds apart, sandwiched around the intermission, when Ceci scored on a point shot with a half minute to go in the first and Michalek finished off a passing play with a tap in 23 seconds into the second period.

Sharp scored on a power play midway through the second and then Hossa capitalized on a Ottawa turnover in the last minute of the period to close the gap, but the Senators restored their three-goal cushion with goals by Turris, on the power play, and MacArthur, on a breakaway, before the final period was 11 minutes old.

Seabrook's goal was off a fluttering slap shot that went over Anderson's shoulder, hit him in the back and rolled into the net with three minutes left. In other words, too little, too late.

The loss was the second in a row for the Blackhawks, who suffered a 3-0 defeat Thursday night in Boston.

Chicago is now officially on just its eighth losing streak of the season.

"Sloppy turnovers, sloppy mistakes that we really need to get out of our system. Simple as that," Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews said in summing up the night from his team's perspective. "We've got to play some character hockey and show that we have some experience going through some moments where maybe we're not getting the bounces and just stay with it.

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"It's a frustrating way to lose tonight but we know there's a lot of little things we can tighten up on and we'll only have to score a couple of goals to win the game. That obviously wasn't the case tonight."

While this is not a good time of the season to be slip from form, it could be worse, Toews pointed out.

"Better now than two or three weeks from now," he said. "That's the way we're going to look at it. We know how good of a team we can be. We haven't shown it the last couple of games. We're not going to make any excuses for why that is, but we'll address the small parts of our game that aren't going so well right now, and we'll get better at it and not let it snowball the wrong way on us."

The Blackhawks finish up a their three-game road trip when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday. The Senators, who just began a five-game homestand, host the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

They'll have to win the next four to stay alive, as they are now six points back of the last wildcard spot with just nine games remaining.

They're better equipped at making a run, however, now that there No. 1 goalie is back.

"The bottom line is we got two points and we found a way to win. That's all that really matters," said Anderson. "We played pretty solid and, for the most part, we did what it took to get the job done.

"It felt to good come back from my 'whatever' injury, get back in there, get back in the saddle and I think it was good to see a lot of shots. You don't have time to think."


NOTES: Senators G Craig Anderson, who was born a 12-mile drive from Chicago in Park Ridge, Ill., was making his first start since March 10. He was the backup the last two games after missing five with an upper-body injury. ... Playing for just the third time since Jan. 23, Blackhawks G Antti Raanta was felled by a C Jason Spezza shot that hit him in the side of the leg 12:50 in the first period. After spending a few moments flat on the ice, Raanta convinced the trainer he was good enough to stay in the game. ... Senators RW Erik Condra ended a 25-game slump when he scored in the first period. It was the Senators fifth shorthanded goal of the season. ... Making his NHL debut, it appeared Blackhawks LW Matt Carey was the victim of a team prank when he bolted from the dressing room to the ice for pre-game warmup, clearly thinking his teammates were right behind him. Carey skated a half of a lap or so before realizing they were still in the hallway watching him.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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