Anderson Must Regain Form for Senators to Get Better

11/29/13 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

After being one of the league's most surprising teams in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season last year, the Ottawa Senators have come crashing down and are one of the NHL's most disappointing clubs so far this season.

The Senators currently find themselves 10th in the Eastern Conference and 6th in the Atlantic Division. While things could be much worse, they could certainly be better and for the Senators to be better, they must get better goaltending from their starter Craig Anderson.

Anderson, 32, was one of the league's top masked men last season. While only playing in 24 games due to a ankle injury, Anderson went 12-9-2 with a 1.69 goals against average, a .941 save percentage and three shutouts.

Anderson was not only the main reason why the Senators made the postseason last year, but he was also the reason why his club advanced to the second round. Anderson was terrific in his team's first round win over the Montreal Canadiens and also was the reason why his team was able to steal a win in the second round over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This season, however, has been a much different story for the Senators' starting netminder. Yes, the team has not played particularly well in front of Anderson but unlike last season, Anderson is not doing his club any favors when in between pipes.

For starters, Anderson is having a lot of trouble keeping the puck out of the net this season. In 17 games, Anderson has allowed 55 goals, giving him a 3.51 goals against average.

While no NHL goaltender is expected to be perfect, he is expected to keep soft goals to a minimum. Anderson has not done that this season and more often than not this year, a soft goal has hurt both him and the team and kept them from winning a hockey game.

Anderson is also having trouble stopping the puck in general. Last season, Anderson stopped a ton of pucks for the Senators and more often than not stood on his head in order to help his team win a game.

That has not been the case for Anderson this season, As of this writing, Anderson's save percentage is .894 and for someone who has a career save percentage of .914, that is well below where he should be.

Lastly, it looks like Anderson's confidence has been shaken this season. He is not challenging shooters enough and has been caught deep in his net on several occasions this season.

Last season, Anderson was a netminder who played big between the pipes. He came out and attacked the puck, made second and third saves when he needed to and battled as hard as he possible could to keep the puck out of the net.

If the Ottawa Senators want to get better as a hockey club and get themselves in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference, Anderson must step up his game and find the form that has made him a successful NHL goaltender to this point in his career.
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