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Conference Final

Craig Anderson leads way for Senators against Penguins in Game 1

Goalie comes within 5:35 of shutout, helps Ottawa take series lead in Eastern Conference Final

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson nearly shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday.

If not for a goal by Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin with 5:35 remaining in the third period, the Senators could have avoided overtime. But when Malkin scored, Anderson and the Senators didn't fold.

Instead, Anderson made three more saves and Bobby Ryan scored 4:59 into overtime to give the Senators a 2-1 win.

 

[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Senators series coverage]

 

"I think the main thing is, when a period ends, all momentum that was gained or lost starts at zero again," Anderson said. "You're able to come out at a fresh start. I think that's the main message, at least that I tell myself, is that it's a fresh start, 0-0 game. Just for myself, make the next save."

Anderson, who made 27 saves, did that in overtime and throughout Game 1. Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is here on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Perhaps with the exception of Ryan, Anderson was most lauded player inside the Senators locker room. Forward Kyle Turris went so far to say without Anderson, the Senators likely don't win Game 1.

"[Anderson] stood on his head the whole game," Turris said. "We tried to help him out, but at the end of the day, him standing on his head gets us that win and keeps us in the game the whole time to give us a chance. It starts with him and we just try to help him out.

"We have a plan where we set up and we try to execute on our plan, but at the end of the day he's making saves that not many people can make. He's done a great job so far."

Video: OTT@PIT, Gm1: Anderson robs Schultz with his pad

One of those saves came 7:42 into the second period, when Patric Hornqvist redirected Justin Schultz's shot on net. Anderson attempted to follow the puck by drifting to his right while the puck jumped back to his left. He stretched out his glove to snag the puck and freeze it.

"He was incredible. That's the kind of game we want," Senators forward Clarke MacArthur said. "He's such a good goalie. We're going to allow shots from the outside and give him those plays. I've said it before that it's like the Devils, [Martin] Brodeur. It's the same kind of thing. You play into the strengths of your team, and we're confident with Craig with those outside shots."

The Senators settled in after struggling early when they took four penalties in the first period. They escaped with a 1-0 lead after successfully killing the first three power plays and finishing the fourth when Malkin was called for hooking 49 seconds into the second period.

"I knew right off the bat, take a couple penalties, that we had to be on our game," Anderson said. "Penalty kill came out, did a great job as far as getting momentum for us. … Because we were able to kill those penalties early in the game, we took any momentum they may have generated from there."

Video: OTT@PIT, Gm1: Anderson kicks out pad to deny Wilson

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