It Is Time To Give Robin Lehner The Ottawa Senators Net

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For all the talk on how much better Craig Anderson is playing since a dreadful first couple of months, his numbers haven’t improved.  The fact that on the CBC broadcast last night that the announcers were gushing over his “improvement” to a 2.54 GAA says something in itself.  If Anderson had that average for a full season, it would rank him as 22nd in the league among qualified goalies, over the entire season to date.  As it is, his 3.07 GAA actually ranks him 43rd among qualified goalies.

Jan 30, 2014; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) scores a goal against Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Senators defeated the Lightning 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

For all the talk about the inability to get the puck out of their own end at times, you can forgive the Senators at times for playing just a little tentative in their own end knowing that there is a better than average chance that any mistake is going to find the back of the net.  His save percentage ranks him 36th in the league, and even using his better than season average January numbers, .924, he would be 10th among qualified goalies.

The big problem for me, as I have said before, hasn’t been the number of saves, it is the ones that he doesn’t make that have been deflating for the Senators.  I looked back at each goal Anderson allowed in the month of January, and of the 28 that beat him, there were 12 that probably shouldn’t have resulted in goals, and I think I was being pretty liberal in determining what I considered a “bad goal” against.  That is 12 goals in 11 games plus a period.  Now realizing no goalie is perfect, assume you want your goalie to make a stop on just half of them.  That is a half a goal per game, and the timing of some of them were devastating.

The Senators went 7-2-3 in the month, but by all rights played well enough in 1 of the regulation losses (to the Rangers) and won at least 2 of the three OT/SO losses (Montreal and Colorado) if not all 3.  That is 5 points they should have got in a well played month, but in each of the losses, there was one thing in common – bad goals against.  Anderson’s complaining about P.K. Subban’s celebration and the dignity of the shootout have further soured me on his ability and his mindset to be a full time starter.

Now to the flip side.  Robin Lehner.