-- Ottawa Senators
goaltender Craig Anderson
doesn't mind being busy.
Anderson, who has played the most minutes out of any goaltender this season with 935:38, was forced to be active yet again in turning aside 38 shots, while Bobby Butler
scored his first two goals of the season in the third period to lift the Senators to a 3-1 win against the Calgary Flames
at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday night.
Anderson's 17 games played also leads all goaltenders, while his 438 saves is second only to Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who has turned aside 470.
"It's just the way the schedule's worked out right now," Anderson said. "You earn your ice time. If you play better, you're going to keep playing. You play one game at a time and don’t worry about the overall result."
Butler's goal at 9:50 of the third period gave the Senators a lead Anderson wouldn't relinquish. After taking a pass off the boards in the neutral zone from Sergei Gonchar
, Butler banked the puck off the wall to escape a check from Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester
. Cutting into Calgary territory, Butler executed a nifty toe-drag around Mark Giordano
before beating Miikka Kiprusoff
over the glove to put Ottawa up 2-1.
The two markers are the first two of the season for Butler, who missed six games earlier this season with a groin injury.
"He made a good play on Bouwmeester in the neutral zone than he made a great move on Giordano, had to try to recover and made a good move on him and put the right spot," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "It was a highlight-reel goal for his first goal of the year. For Bobby, he could've kicked it in and he would've taken it. That was a pretty way to do it."
"I can't let him get the shot from where he did," Giordano said. "I think it's black and white. It's a simple one-on-one and he got in a good position to shoot and you cant allow that in a tight game like that."
To make sure the lead would stand, Butler added another. Streaking on down the left boards, Butler uncorked a slap shot that beat Kiprusoff on the far side at 16:12 of the third period.
After a scoreless first period, Alfredsson put the Senators on the board late in the second period. After Calgary turned the puck over in the neutral zone, Nick Foligno
gained the Flames' zone and hit a streaking Alfredsson in the slot with a pass. The Senators' captain corralled the puck and beat Kiprusoff over the glove at 18:44 to make it 1-0.
Alfredsson struck again just over a minute later with an unfortunate consequence for Ottawa.
After the Sens turned the puck over behind the net after a Flames' dump-in, Matt Stajan
centered the puck into the slot. A backchecking Alfredsson appeared to knock the puck behind Anderson to even the score 1-1. The goal was credited to Tom Kostopoulos
, with Stajan drawing an assist.
The goals came after it had appeared both goaltenders would take the game scoreless into the third period.
Anderson kept the Flames off the board after staring down Calgary captain Jarome Iginla
for one of his 16 saves in the period. Left alone, Iginla took a pass to the right of the Ottawa net after finding a dead area at 14:51, but he couldn't shovel the puck past Anderson.
When Jason Spezza
turned the puck over at the Flames blue line, Anderson had to be equally as tough. Curtis Glencross
picked off Spezza's cross-ice pass, but couldn't leg out a breakaway. Instead, Glencross dropped the puck back to Rene Bourque
in the slot, who couldn't beat Anderson between the legs at 18:12.
Alfredsson's goal came 32 seconds later, followed quickly by Kostopoulos' tally.
Kiprusoff had kept the Swede at bay until then, kicking out his right pad and robbing Alfredsson earlier in the period.
Both were equally as good in the first period, turning aside a combined 25 shots.
Anderson was busy early; turning aside Lee Stempniak
's whacks on the doorstep just 1:25 into the game after a nifty no-look backhand pass from Paul Byron
found Stempniak alone in the slot.
Six minutes later, Anderson turned aside an Olli Jokinen
opportunity, as the latter got a step on Senators defenseman Chris Phillips
and cut to the net on the backhand.
Equal to the task, Kiprusoff kicked out 14 shots and got some help from a goal post on a Spezza power-play opportunity.
"He's definitely a terrific goalie over there," Anderson said of Kiprusoff. "When he does well that team usually does well. I knew I had to bring my 'A' game tonight and give the guys a chance to win and we beat them with a couple of shots from Butler."
Thanks in part to Anderson's effort, the Flames have scored just 36 goals, third fewest in the NHL. The team is also battling a struggling power-play, going 0-for-5 against Ottawa and scoring just once in its last 21 attempts with the man advantage. The Flames are also a League-worst 2-for-40 on home ice.
"Special teams have to be better, obviously," Giordano said. "Our power-play has to be able to find a way to put a goal in there, especially when you get 5-on-3's. It was a tight game down the stretch and a couple breakdowns cost us."
The win gives evens Ottawa's record at 9-9-1 on the season and gives the team a two-game winning streak after dropping five consecutive contests. The team continues the Western Canadian leg of its road trip Thursday at Edmonton.