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Anderson has Senators on a roll

Sunday, 01.15.2012 / 11:02 AM / The Hot List

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson is playing like someone whose New Year's resolution was not to lose again.

Craig Anderson
Goalie - OTT
RECORD: 23-12-4
GAA: 2.96 | SVP: 0.907
Anderson is the biggest reason the Senators have been one of the NHL's biggest surprises this season. He won all three of his starts last week, allowing one goal in Pittsburgh and two in a shootout win at Montreal -- sandwiched around a brilliant 34-save shutout of the League-leading Rangers in New York on Thursday.

For the week, he allowed just three goals on 99 shots. In his last nine appearances, he's gone 8-0-1 while allowing only 15 goals. After a shaky start, he's second in the NHL with 23 victories, and since the day after Thanksgiving has chopped his goals-against average from 3.46 to 2.96 while improving his save percentage from .889 to .907.

Five up -- Five players who had a week to remember:

Erik Karlsson -- The only thing that can slow down the NHL's highest-scoring defenseman is injury -- he missed a game last week due to an upper-body ailment. But he has seven points in his last four games and 44 in 45 games overall.

Jonas Hiller -- After missing a game with a lower-body injury, Hiller was superb in back-to-back games in Alberta, allowing only one goal while going 1-0-1 and earning his 100th NHL victory.

David Krejci -- The slick Boston center is the owner of this season's longest active points streak -- an assist on Saturday extended the string to 12 games, during which he's put up 16 points while going plus-6.

Jay Harrison
Defense - CAR
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 18
SOG: 78 | +/-: -5
Jay Harrison -- After taking his game to Europe for a year, Harrison continues to make an impression in Carolina, which signed him as a free agent in 2009. He had the game-winning goal in back-to-back games against Tampa Bay and Boston, has scored four times in his last four games, and has scored seven goals in just over half a season after coming into the season with just four.

Evgeni Nabokov -- Nabby became the 26th goaltender in NHL history and just the fourth among active players to reach the 300-win mark when he helped the New York Islanders beat Buffalo on Saturday. He was 2-1-0 last week with a 2.00 goals-against average.

Five down — Five players who are struggling:

Artem Anisimov -- The Russian center is one of the few New York Rangers who isn't at the top of his game. Though he's seeing top-six minutes, Anisimov has gone 10 games without producing a point and has just eight shots on goal in that span.

Luke Adam -- The Buffalo rookie has hit the skids after a promising start. He's gone without a point in his last 12 games after getting 10 goals and 10 assists in his first 32 -- and has seen his ice time reduced sharply.

John Carlson -- Though he's one of the NHL's best-regarded young defenseman, Carlson hasn't been generating much offense from the blue line. He's gone seven games without a point and is minus-6 in that span -- during which the Rangers have gone 8-2-0.

Dwayne Roloson
Goalie - TBL
RECORD: 6-10-2
GAA: 3.68 | SVP: 0.880
Dwayne Roloson -- Tampa Bay's playoff hero from last spring is having a season to forget. He hasn't won since Nov. 17, and after going 0-1-1 while allowing nine goals on just 71 shots last week, his GAA is up to 3.68 and his save percentage has fallen to .880.

Alexei Ponikarovsky -- The four-time 20-goal scorer's offensive touch disappeared in Los Angeles (five goals) last season, and it has yet to resurface in Carolina, which signed him last summer. Ponikarovsky hasn't had a point in eight games and is just 7-7-14 through 46 games.

Injuries, news and notes -- The good news for the Pittsburgh Penguins is that Sidney Crosby skated Friday and again on Saturday. The bad news is that he's nowhere near ready to return to game action. The worse news is that fellow center Jordan Staal will miss at least a month with a knee injury, leaving Pittsburgh without two of its top three centers.

Out -- Montreal captain Brian Gionta had surgery to repair a tear in his right biceps suffered on Tuesday and is out indefinitely. … Winnipeg forward Blake Wheeler was hospitalized after being hit in the throat by a puck during Saturday's game. The Jets say tests were negative and he should be OK. … Devils center Adam Henrique sat out Saturday's game with what the team called a slight groin strain. … Columbus placed center Jeff Carter (separated right shoulder) on IR after he was injured Sunday in Anaheim … Chicago lost Patrick Sharp with a wrist injury on Sunday and placed him on IR. … Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk is out indefinitely with a concussion. … Phoenix defenseman Adrian Aucoin left Friday's game with a lower-body injury. … Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky missed games Thursday and Saturday with a shoulder injury. … Nashville's Jerred Smithson sat out the Predators' last two games with a lower-body injury. … Detroit defenseman Mike Commodore missed Saturday's game with an injured right foot after blocking a shot. … Columbus center R.J. Umberger's consecutive-game streak ended at 291 games when he sat out Friday with concussion-like symptoms, which also kept him out on Saturday. … Penguins defenseman Simon Despres will miss at least two weeks with a knee injury sustained on Wednesday. … Dallas center Mike Ribeiro missed the Stars' last two games with a knee injury. … Buffalo rookie Brayden McNabb left Friday's game with a possible concussion and didn't play Saturday.

Returning -- Carolina center Jeff Skinner (concussion) should return this week, perhaps as soon as Sunday. … Blues defenseman Barret Jackman returned from a hip injury on Saturday night. … Florida hopes to have goaltender Jose Theodore (knee) back for Monday's game against Boston. … Flames defenseman Mark Giordano returned Thursday after missing six weeks with a torn tendon in his hamstring. … Chicago center Marcus Kruger returned Saturday; he had missed seven games due to a concussion. … Colorado center Peter Mueller played Thursday and Saturday after missing 40 games with concussion-related problems. … Pittsburgh forward Dustin Jeffrey returned Wednesday; he had been sidelined since Nov. 3 with a knee injury. … Phoenix got center Boyd Gordon (lower-body) back into the lineup on Tuesday; he hadn't played since Dec. 23. … Montreal center Scott Gomez was back in the lineup Saturday after sitting out 21 games with a groin injury.

Travis Zajac
Center - NJD
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 3
SOG: 16 | +/-: -2
Still out -- Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro, who hasn't played since Dec. 3 due to a groin injury, is likely done for the season. He's slated to have sports hernia surgery this week. … Also done for the season is Chicago forward Daniel Carcillo, who will have reconstructive knee surgery. … Washington put defenseman Mike Green (groin) on long-term IR, meaning he can't play again until at least Feb. 1.  … New Jersey placed center Travis Zajac on IR with soreness in his surgically repaired Achilles tendon. He hasn't played since Jan. 2. … Washington center Nicklas Backstrom hasn't played since taking an elbow to the head on Jan. 3, and there's no timetable for his return. … Blues defenseman Kris Russell is skating again as he works to return from a groin injury that has kept him out for two weeks. Another defenseman, Kent Huskins, is also skating again -- he's still at least a week away from returning from the ankle injury that has kept him out since late October. … Oilers defenseman Cam Barker skated last week and is ahead of schedule as he aims to return from ankle surgery. … Anaheim placed goaltender Dan Ellis (groin) on IR; he's expected to miss at least a month. … Tampa Bay forward Adam Hall isn't likely to return until March at the earliest due to a torn muscle in his forearm.

The week ahead -- There's lots of action in the final full week of play before the All-Star break -- more than half the League plays four or more times in the next seven days.

Games to watch:

Dallas at St. Louis (Jan. 16; NBCSP/TSN2) -- This is a tough assignment for the Stars; the Blues have been among the NHL's best home teams this season.

New York Rangers at Boston (Jan. 21; NHLN-US) -- The top two teams in the Eastern Conference meet for the first time this season when the Rangers come to TD Garden for an afternoon showdown.

Calgary at Edmonton (Jan. 21; CBC) -- The Flames and Oilers renew the Battle of Alberta, which has become a one-side affair (in Calgary's favor) during the past couple of seasons.

Washington at Pittsburgh (Jan. 22; NBC/NHLN-Canada) -- The Penguins hope to atone for a 1-0 loss at Pittsburgh 11 days earlier in NBC's Game of the Week.

Boston at Philadelphia (Jan. 22) -- You can bet that the Flyers will be eager to atone for the 6-0 pre-Christmas loss at home that was so well chronicled on HBO's "24/7" series prior to the Winter Classic.

Tough week ahead:

Boston Bruins -- Expect coach Claude Julien to roll his lines as much as possible -- the Bruins play five games in seven day, four of them on the road. It's the first time in nearly a year that a team will play five times in a Monday-Sunday stretch.

Buffalo Sabres -- The Sabres began a seven-game trip Saturday night on Long Island and play four times on the road this week, including three in a four-day span, as they work their way through the Midwest.

Florida Panthers -- This will be a measuring-stick week for the Panthers as they try to hang on to first place in the Southeast Division: They begin with a home game against Boston, followed by three road games in four nights at Colorado, Chicago and Winnipeg.

Easy week ahead:

St. Louis Blues
-- One of the NHL's best home teams will spend the week at the Scottrade Center hosting Dallas, Edmonton and Buffalo -- all of which began the week outside the top eight in their conference.

Toronto Maple Leafs -- The Leafs started a five-game homestand on Saturday and play the middle three games this week against Ottawa, Minnesota and Montreal -- two of which will be on the second half of back-to-back games.

Vancouver Canucks -- The Canucks returned home from a road trip with a game Sunday and are the only team that plays just twice this week -- home games against Los Angeles and San Jose.

I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday