Who Should Start Game Three, Hammond Or Anderson?


Well, tonight wasn’t too fun. It was another one goal game, except this time it went to overtime. Still, it was the same result as Wednesday, as the Montreal Canadiens won 3-2 and took a 2-0 series lead over the Ottawa Senators. All of a sudden, it’s not looking too great for Ottawa in this series. In the last five (maximum) games, the Senators need to win four of them. With that in mind, which goalie should start game three on Sunday, Andrew Hammond or Craig Anderson?

It’s a fair question, and I’m sure there will be plenty of discussion. On the one hand, Hammond has been on a historic run, and this is the only the second time he has ever lost back-to-back games. On the other hand, you have Anderson who has been the best goalie Ottawa has ever had, and he’s been no slouch this year either. Let’s go through the pros and cons for each.


Pros: He had a record of 20-1-2 in the regular season and is one of the few reasons why Ottawa made the playoffs in the first place. His run has been magical, and there have been a few times earlier where it seemed like he had run out of gas, but then the next game he played well. It’s just been two games, so perhaps this is a bit of an overreaction. Plus, it’s not as if all of the goals have been his fault.

The PK Subban goal today was unstoppable, and the overtime goal should be blamed on Eric Gryba for an awful giveaway. It may be hard to give up on him so soon.

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Cons: While he’s been amazing these past few months, let’s be realistic. He was never even meant to be an NHL backup, and then he was the NHL’s best goalie for 24 games. It’s hard to expect him to win us a playoff series, and although you can’t fault him solely for the losses, he did allow a few regrettable goals.

He has only two playoff games under his name, and the playoffs are so much different than the regular season. Maybe he is simply better suited for the regular season.


Pros: In 35 games this year, he has a .923 save percentage, which is well above average and in All-Star territory. He has won in the playoffs before, including against Montreal in 2013. He’s Ottawa’s best goalie of all time, and he would have hands down been their playoff starter just a few months ago. He hasn’t played bad this year, but he only lost his job because of how amazing Hammond was playing. This guy is quite the option for a “backup.”

Cons: Although he hasn’t played much recently, in his last four games his save percentage is only .896, and he did not look comfortable in those games. Also the fact that he hasn’t played much at all isn’t a good sign, as it’s tough going straight into a playoff series like this without a warmup first. It’s also tough to just give up on Hammond right away, as he may prove to bounce back. My biggest worry though is how ready he will be for game three if he gets the nod.

After the game, SensChirp had a similar though to me, and he polled people on Twitter. The results were interesting:

I think many people do want Anderson at this point, and I have to agree with them. It is a bit worrying that he hasn’t played in a while, but the team is down 0-2 and has nothing to lose. Something has to change, and it’s not as if Anderson is some no-name backup. He’s a proven winner, and he’s won against Montreal in the playoffs before.

This is the biggest stage so far, and Ottawa needs the win. While it’s tempting to go with the guy that has given us a magical ride, Dave Cameron should go with the trusted veteran, who statistically should give them better odds to win. Having said all of this, it’s not just the goalie who has to be better. The whole team hasn’t played too great, and they have allowed way to much zone time for Montreal.

They also really need to limit the penalties (no matter how awful they are) if they want to win. In the end though, I think going with an established guy is the proper route. If the series was 1-1, then we aren’t even discussing this. But when a teams losing, changes need to be made, especially in a short playoff series.

It should be interesting to see who gets the start, and either way I can’t get too upset with the decision.

Go Sens Go!

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