Hammond leads surging Senators past Jets

Patrick Williams  - Correspondent | Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 2:29 AM

WINNIPEG -- The Ottawa Senators continued their late-season push toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Wednesday.

In the second game of a back-to-back set, Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond made 35 saves in his seventh consecutive start. Ottawa has won eight of its past 11 games (8-1-2).

"It's hard to explain," Hammond said. "It's just hard work from everyone on the team, and obviously we have that special feeling now, and I feel like it's carrying over [from game to game] where it doesn't matter the team we're playing, we feel like we [can] hang in there and play and be successful."

Ottawa coach Dave Cameron made a surprise announcement earlier Wednesday that Hammond was to start in place of Craig Anderson, who had been announced as the starter earlier in the week; however, a lingering hand injury that has prevented Anderson from playing since Jan. 21 changed the plan.

In stepped Hammond, who guided the Senators (28-23-11) on a 4-0-1 road trip against Western Conference opponents.

"You always need saves in this business, and we got them tonight," Cameron said.

The win moved the Senators within four points of the idle Boston Bruins for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

"It's an unbelievable trip," forward Kyle Turris said.

Hammond is 6-0-1 with a 1.35 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage in eight games. He picked up his first two NHL shutouts on the trip.

"We can't say enough good things about (Hammond)," Turris said. "We love him. He is playing great, and we're just trying to rally for him."

Ottawa has allowed eight goals in its past seven games. The Ottawa penalty kill has been successful on 17 of the past 18 shorthanded situations.

"We're starting to play the right way and get rewarded for the work we've put in in the past few months," Ottawa forward Erik Condra said. "(Hammond) doesn't say a peep. He comes in and does his work and we battle for him."

The loss kept Winnipeg (32-21-12) one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the first wild card in the West. Minnesota has two games in hand on the Jets.

Winnipeg ended a 2-1-2 homestand and lost in regulation for the first time at home since Feb. 6 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"We'll go back and find all the things we didn't like about our game, but at the end of the day (Hammond) was really good," Jets coach Paul Maurice said.

Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien left the game in the second period because of an upper-body injury and did not return. Maurice said that Byfuglien's status will not be known until Thursday.

Turris scored his 16th goal to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead early in the first period. Bobby Ryan's 17th goal and Condra's seventh ended Winnipeg goaltender Michael Hutchinson's night with 8:06 left in the second period.

Michael Frolik had a third-period goal for Winnipeg.

Hutchinson made 14 saves in his fifth consecutive start. He was 5-0-3 in his previous eight games and lost in regulation for the first time since Feb. 2 at the Calgary Flames.

Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec took over for Hutchinson in his first game since Feb. 19 and finished with three saves.

"I think overall we played really well," Hutchinson said of the Jets, who outshot Ottawa 36-20. "We took it to them. Their goalie played really well tonight, and I'm sure that if it wasn't for him it [would have been] a different result."

Ottawa scored on its second shot of the game when Cody Ceci's pass reached Turris at the blue line before Turris put a high wrist shot from the left circle past Hutchinson at 4:59. Turris has six goals in his past 10 games.

The Jets emphasized pouncing on the road-weary Senators early. Winnipeg outshot Ottawa 15-6 in the first period, but Hammond made save point-blank saves.

"They really took it to us in the first period, and I thought we did a good job of surviving," Cameron said.

The Ottawa power play pushed the lead to 2-0 when Ryan snuck into the slot and one-timed Karlsson's pass from behind the net 9:07 into the second period.

Condra's one-timer from the low slot 2:47 after Ryan's goal made it 3-0. Frolik's 14th goal off a cross-crease pass 5:46 into the third period trimmed Ottawa's lead to 3-1.

Hammond went 7-13-2 in 25 games this season with Binghamton of the American Hockey League before Ottawa recalled him Jan. 29. Hammond struggled in the AHL this season with a 3.51 GAA and a .898 save percentage.

But injuries to Anderson and Robin Lehner presented an opportunity for Hammond that he has maximized. The undrafted 27-year-old goaltender has helped reinvigorate the Senators after they had started to fade from the postseason race earlier in the season.

"It's something that you don't really envision starting this way, but when you put the work in you don't feel like it's unwarranted," Hammond said. "You definitely don't envision it unfolding this way, but you do think you can be successful at this level."

The unexpected start did not rattle Hammond.

"It didn't really change anything for me," Hammond said. "I prepare the same way whether slated to start or back up. It's something that I learned early on. You're not going to have any regrets if you prepare properly, and your name does get called."

Ottawa begins a three-game road trip at the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. The Senators will have Thursday off, but Ryan warned of the need to keep pushing ahead.

"It's one of those games where you come home and you have a day off tomorrow, you don't want to lose the momentum," Ryan said. "It's one of those emotional letdown games, so it will be on us as leaders to make sure guys are ready to go."

Winnipeg begins a four-game road trip against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
04:59OTT Kyle Turris (16) ASST: Cody Ceci (13), Milan Michalek (15) 1 - 0 OTT
2nd Period
09:07OTT PPG - Bobby Ryan (17) ASST: Mika Zibanejad (19), Erik Karlsson (34) 2 - 0 OTT
11:54OTT Erik Condra (8) ASST: Mark Stone (25), Kyle Turris (29) 3 - 0 OTT
3rd Period
05:46WPG Michael Frolik (14) ASST: Lee Stempniak (10), Tyler Myers (14) 3 - 1 OTT
Three Stars of the Game
Andrew Hammond
SA: 36TOI: 60:00
GA: 1EV: 28-29
PIM: 0PP: 7-7
SV%: .972SH: 0-0
Kyle Turris
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 14:00
Erik Condra
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 15:42
Penalty Summary
1st Period
19:33OTT Cody Ceci  Holding against  Andrew Ladd
2nd Period
08:06WPG Jacob Trouba  Slashing against  Erik Condra
12:03OTT Erik Karlsson  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
19:58WPG Mark Stuart  Roughing against  Erik Condra
3rd Period
02:56OTT Erik Karlsson  Slashing against  Mark Scheifele
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/20/3
Faceoff Wins3140
Blocked Shots218
Penalty Minutes64
3M. MethotD00-10021:29
5C. CeciD0110217:00
6B. RyanR10-12017:19
7K. TurrisC1122014:00
9M. MichalekL0111018:02
14C. GreeningL0002013:55
17D. LegwandC0001018:39
22E. CondraR1013015:42
27C. LazarR000008:43
44J. PageauC0001011:14
46P. WierciochD0011017:31
61M. StoneR0121017:17
62E. GrybaD0012020:23
65E. KarlssonD01-11423:28
68M. HoffmanL00-1108:44
74M. BorowieckiD0010020:00
90A. ChiassonR0001013:39
93M. ZibanejadC01-11016:55
30A. Hammond3536.97260:00
5M. StuartD0000214:44
8J. TroubaD0001225:15
12D. StaffordR00-12018:03
14A. PelusoR000005:44
16A. LaddL00-13023:19
17A. LowryL0011014:35
18B. LittleC00-13022:15
19J. SlaterC000207:06
20L. StempniakR0111012:48
22C. ThorburnR000005:24
23J. HarrisonD00-24018:18
26B. WheelerR00-14021:41
33D. ByfuglienD00-23013:18
39T. EnstromD0010024:02
55M. ScheifeleC00-13018:26
57T. MyersD0113024:34
67M. FrolikR1014013:23
91J. TlustyR00-12016:27
31O. Pavelec331.00025:43
34M. Hutchinson1417.82431:54