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Anderson, penalty kill helped extend Senators' season

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com

OTTAWA -- Instead of packing to go home for the summer, the Ottawa Senators were packing for another trip to Montreal on Thursday.

The Senators avoided being swept out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday with a 1-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens. They trail the best-of-7 series 3-1 and will have a chance to get more momentum on their side in Game 5 on Friday at Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET; CBC, CNBC, TVA Sports).

"Live another day. We're not eliminated," Senators coach Dave Cameron said Thursday. "We're not packing our bags. We're going to Montreal and now we have a series."

Said Senators forward Mark Stone, "What we did yesterday kind of showed that we're not going to roll over and die."

Cameron's switch to goaltender Craig Anderson for Game 3 has paid off. After Andrew Hammond, the hero of the Senators' late season surge, allowed seven goals in the first two games of the series, Anderson had the shutout in Game 4. He's stopped 75 of 77 shots in Games 3 and 4.

The 33-year-old sustained a bruised hand Jan. 21. Between the injury and Hammond getting hot down the stretch, Anderson played four games before getting the start in Game 3, which the Senators lost 2-1 in overtime.

The down time doesn't seem to have affected him.

"I feel 25 years old again," Anderson said. "When you're breaking into the League and you're backing up guys that I've backed up -- I've played with some great goaltenders -- you learn a lot from watching them. You've got to be prepared to play at any time.

"I've gone on lots of stretches where you haven't played in two, three weeks and all of a sudden the other guy gets sick or it's time for a night off and you've got to go in there and do a job. I learned a long time ago if you don't go in there and do the job they'll find someone else that will."

When Cameron was told Anderson said he felt 25 again, Cameron said, "I don't care what he feels, just keep playing the same way. But we've seen that before. [Goaltending] is huge in the playoffs. You need it. I've seen it before; I've seen it lots before. Am I surprised? Not the least bit."

Cameron said he turned to Anderson because of his experience. Anderson had lost three in a row to finish the regular season but Cameron said he just needed some time to come back from the injury.

That's the difference for Anderson now.

"Just that he's had more time on the ice, healthy and being able to play some games and then being able to practice and that usually leads to good performance," Cameron said.

Said forward Clarke MacArthur, "I think [Anderson] was hungry; I mean, he was starving to get a chance again. In the past he's had good playoff runs and good numbers so I'm not surprised. He played great for us all year and for him to come in and do what he's done is what you expect of him and the only chance you have to compete, really."

Stone said Anderson's experience showed when the Senators got the lead Wednesday and when the Canadiens might have been enjoying an edge in play.

"We found ways to limit their chances," Stone said. "And when they did get chances you can't say much more about Anderson. He played just a typical game that he plays. He really slowed the game down for us when we needed it.

"He's a goalie who just reads the play so well. That's just one of the things you don't lose. He's just one of those guys that can really see a play unfold. He makes the game a lot easier than it looks."

All four games in the series have been decided by one goal, and one of the keys for the Senators has been their penalty killing.

The Canadiens are 1-for-16 in the series and haven't scored on the power play since the second period of Game 2. The Senators have killed 12 straight penalties going into Game 5.

"You can really build off the momentum from a big kill," said Stone, who led Senators forwards in shorthanded ice time in Game 4. "You look at a lot of the kills and they've been pretty timely, especially [in Game 4]."

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