Anderson’s time to win back the Senators net?

It’s a team game, for sure, but there’s also plenty on the line personally for Craig Anderson Wednesday in Washington.

It’s a team game, for sure, but there’s also plenty on the line personally for Craig Anderson Wednesday in Washington.

If, as expected, Anderson gets the start against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, he’ll be in position to steal a win for the club and to steal back his number one goaltending job back from Robin Lehner. At least for the time being.

Lehner started in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Detroit and Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Carolina, with Anderson serving as the back-up.

Senators coach Paul MacLean says he won’t officially announce his starter against Washington until Wednesday morning, but Anderson will likely get the nod.

“Everybody wants to play,” said Anderson, who sports a 5-7-2 record and a goals against average (3.31) and save percentage (.900) which rank well below the league average. “If you didn’t want to play, you wouldn’t be here. That’s kind of the attitude and mentality of the professional athlete. You want to be the guy who is in the net or the guy who is on the ice for every power play or who is on the ice to kill the penalty.

“You want to be the guy who is on the ice, so that doesn’t change through the course of a year. It’s a long year. You’re going to get your chance to play. Your job is to help the team win.”

In that regard, Anderson says he completely understood why Senators coach Paul MacLean opted to use Lehner in the back-to-back games against Detroit and Carolina. Lehner is 4-4-2, with a 2.40 goals against average and a .938 save percentage, which ranks fourth in the NHL.

“Robin stole the game on Saturday against Detroit and played well,” said Anderson. “Everything you do in this game is earned. That’s something I learned in my first year as a pro. You’re not just given anything. You have to go out and earn it and prove it every day. You have to show up at work and that’s a credit to him. He has played well, he has given our team a chance to win and stolen some games for us. He earned his ice time.”

While MacLean didn’t publicly announce his goaltender against Washington, he insists he has been happy with both netminders, claiming they’ve both been among the most consistent players throughout the opening 24 games of the season. The overall inconsistency all around the goaltenders explains the club’s 9-11-4 record, which had them in 12th place in the Eastern Conference before Tuesday’s games, six points behind Montreal for the final playoff spot.

“We’ve put (the goaltenders) in some bad spots and they’ve bailed us out lots of times. So, we’re pleased with our goaltending. We have to play better in front of them to give them a chance to be better.”

MacLean is standing by Anderson.

“Obviously, his record and statistical data isn’t where it was last year, but his preparation, his attention to detail, his positioning…those aren’t issues that we have. We play too much in our zone. We’ve taken too many penalties and that has put a lot of pressure on our goaltending. I think they’ve responded well.”

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