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Anderson to start for Senators in Heritage Classic

by Tal Pinchevsky

VANCOUVER -- Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson said Saturday he will start against the Vancouver Canucks in the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic on Sunday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

He said he is looking forward to it, although he admits he doesn't have any idea what to expect from the game at BC Place, which is expected to draw more than 50,000 fans.

"I didn't play football in high school. I really don't have any past experience to go off on this type of atmosphere, realizing the magnitude of how many fans and how loud it's going to be," Anderson said Saturday after the Senators' skate. "It's definitely a new experience. It's something you feel honored to be a part of. So much of this game is a day-to-day monotonous grind; you get up and do the same thing. This is kind of a good change of pace, something a little different to keep everything fresh and new."

It's also a crucial start for a goaltender who has struggled of late. Anderson allowed five goals on 33 shots before being pulled in the third period of a 7-2 road loss to the Boston Bruins on Feb. 8. That game, Ottawa's last before the NHL break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was his second time allowing five goals in his past four starts. He missed the Senators' 6-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday to be with his wife, who was giving birth to the couple's second child.

Preparing for the game at the retractable-roof stadium, which hosts home games for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League, Anderson cited his recent work with Gerry Townend, the Senators' head athletic therapist who spent 10 seasons with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts.

Anderson is looking to keep things simple as Ottawa hopes to climb the Eastern Conference standings. That means moving beyond the spectacle and focusing on the business at hand.

"The biggest adjustment right now is having the seats not up against the glass. There's a transition there (with regard to depth perception)," Anderson said. "But other than that, everything on the ice is pretty identical to what we're used to."

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