Morning skate update: Anderson between pipes for Senators, Lazar to play

Goaltender Craig Anderson is expected to play his first full game of the pre-season as the Ottawa Senators travel to the Bell Centre in the second game of the home and away series Thursday.

Morning skate update: Anderson between pipes for Senators, Lazar to play
Craig Anderson kicks out the toe to stop a shot by James van Riemsdyk with defence man Marc Methot (R) in close in the 2nd period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in pre-season NHL action at Canadian Tire Centre, September 19, 2013, in Kanata, Ontario. (Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen)

Goaltender Craig Anderson is expected to play his first full game of the pre-season as the Ottawa Senators travel to the Bell Centre in the second game of the home and away series Thursday.

“You want to play, you want to get out there and kind of get into the playing situations where it’s more game like and a lot more situations where you have to stay mentally focussed and you’re not so worried about third or fourth or fifth shots in a row in practice,” said Anderson.

“It’s always a good place, a fun place, to play. They always have good crowds. It’s one of those things where you’ve got to use the energy they bring, but you’ve still got to get up for the game. You can’t just go out there and go through the motions. You’ve got to work on your game. That’s the biggest thing in the pre-season.”

The fact Anderson is playing a full game is a good sign for the Senators, considering that he has been slowed by something (he insists it’s not his ankle) through the first two weeks of training camp. Robin Lehner is also going to Montreal as the back-up, but coach Paul MacLean says the plan is for Anderson to play the entire game.

Anderson figures to have his hands (and feet) full, given that the Canadiens will dress a lineup full of experienced NHL players. The Senators lineup, on the other hand, is full of prospects bidding to do everything possible to get noticed by the coaches and management. Jason Spezza, Bobby Ryan, Milan Michalek, Kyle Turris, Clarke MacArthur, Colin Greening, Erik Condra, Chris Neil, Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot, Chris Phillips and Patrick Wiercioch are all staying at home.

The group does include Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman, part of the crew in a battle to win a roster spot out of training camp. It also includes first-round draft pick Curtis Lazar, playing his first ever exhibition game after suffering a shoulder injury on the first day of training camp.

“I’m pretty excited,” Lazar said. “I woke up and it felt like Christmas that’s for sure, just getting to the rink. I’m looking forward to it. There’s no better place to start for my first NHL pre-season action.”

The Senators might expect the Canadiens to try and establish themselves physically in front of their home crowd. The memories of the Senators eliminating Montreal in the playoffs last spring are fresh. The Canadiens, who were outmuscled by Ottawa in that five-game series, were physical in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss at the Canadian Tire Centre, when they sported a much weaker lineup than what they will display tonight.

“You figured there was going to be some heated moments,” said Anderson, when asked about the nature of the Canadiens style. “In the past, in my experience, when a team gets knocked out in the playoffs the year before, when they play them for the first time again, there’s always a little bit of animosity that’s still there from forcing the other team to go golfing at the end of the year. Tht’s not a good feelign when you’re on the other end of it.”

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