BY ALLEN PANZERI
BOSTON — Even if we’re still in training camp, it’s not difficult picking the guy who will probably be the most valuable Ottawa Senator this season.
It’s goalie Craig Anderson.
It looks right now like on many nights he’ll be all that stands between the Senators and disaster.
On Thursday night, he was all that stood between the Senators and a whitewash by the Boston Bruins.
If it were a lesser goalie, like either of the two the Senators had last year, the game would have been over in the first.
As it was, Daniel Alfredsson scored at 5:10 of the third to tie the game at 1-1, and at 15:58, David Rundblad scored a power-play goal to give the Senators an unexpected 2-1 win.
Rundblad’s shot, which came with Rich Peverly off serving a double minor, deflected off the stick of Bruin defenceman Adam McQuaid and went past Boston goalie Tim Thomas.
Only minutes before Rundblad’s goal, an apparent go-ahead goal by Mika Zibanejad was disallowed when it was ruled that Greening had made contact with Thomas
Before 16,763 fans, Milan Lucic scored Boston’s only goal on a first-period power play.
“At the end of the day, it’s a Picasso because you win the game,” said Senators coach Paul MacLean.
“But in the first period we didn’t want the puck, we didn’t seem to have much interest in the game, because all we did was defend again, and that’s not what we want to be.
“We want to be a team that comes out and plays with confidence, handles the puck and wants the puck and makes plays with it. But those are all things we can work on, and are things that we will work on.”
“I thought Anderson was very solid in net, and a lot of our young players played very well.”
Thomas faced 20 shots while Anderson faced 40.
“Sometimes that’s the way things go,” said Anderson.
“You can dominate for two periods, sometimes three periods, and not win. It works both ways. There are going to be games where we dominate and don’t win. There are going to be games where they dominate and we win.
“They even themselves out by the end of the year, so we’ll just enjoy it while we can.”
Thomas had an easy time of it in the first period. The Senators peppered him with five whole shots, an indication of how infrequently they got into the Boston zone.
The Bruins probably should have been ahead by more than 1-0 but Anderson played well. It’ll be interesting to see how he feels after 30 or so games of being a dartboard.
Anderson actually had a chance on Lucic’s goal, scored with Zenon Konopka off for hooking.
David Krejci passed it through the slot for Lucic on the right edge of the crease. Anderson got his arm on Lucic’s shot but couldn’t get enough of it.
That the Senators were still in the game after the second period was something you could have put a stamp on and mailed to Ripley’s
Once again, they managed only five shots of their own – for a two-period total of 10 – and helped the Bruins by taking three penalties, their fourth, fifth, and sixth of the game.
Lazy and dumb ones, too, given the political climate these days: one for hooking and two for boarding.
If the Bruins had been a little sharper, as they (and everyone else ) probably will be after a few weeks of regular-season games, the Senators would have been finished.