Player Spotlight: Craig Anderson
(Editor's note: As the 2012-13 season draws closer, ottawasenators.com will take a daily snapshot look at some of the returning players from last year, with both a look back and a look ahead).
2011-12 stats: 63 GP, 33-22-6 W-L-OTL, 2.84 GAA, .914 SV%, 3 SO
Last season: Anderson established himself as a bona fide NHL starter — and the Senators' clear No. 1 stopper — with a solid season that carried over into the opening round of the playoffs against the New York Rangers, when he proved to be more than a match for Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist. Until suffering a hand injury in late February, the native of Park Ridge, Ill., was on pace to record his highest career season total in games played and, at that point, was the busiest goaltender in the NHL in terms of shots faced and saves made. He notched his 100th career victory on Oct. 20 (vs. Winnipeg, 4-1) and, with 44 wins as a Senator, ranks seventh all-time among franchise goaltenders.
The highlight: On one of the NHL's most glittery stages, Anderson turned aside 41 shots in blanking the Rangers 2-0 at Madison Square Garden in New York — billed as "the world's most famous arena" — in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final. Senators head coach Paul MacLean called it Anderson's best performance of the season.
Looking forward: No question Anderson's play will be a huge key in the Senators' bid to return to the Stanley Cup playoffs for a second straight season. His strength in the area of on-ice communication should prove valuable as Ottawa works in some new faces on its blue line, which underwent a facelift over the summer months. Anderson enters 2012-13 six games shy of 300 for his NHL career, a milestone he should reach in fairly short order.
Quote: "There's something to be said about going into the other team's building and upsetting the home fans. You thrive on pressure, you thrive on someone telling you that you can't win. When the other team's fans tell you that you can't win, it's one of those 'I'm going to show you and beat you in your own building.' That's a hockey player's mentality, that's how it works. We're all pretty competitive guys."