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Senators still confident in Craig Anderson after difficult start

Ottawa will stick with goalie against Penguins in Game 6 on Tuesday following rough outing

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Reluctant to use his timeout in the first period, Ottawa Senators coach Guy Boucher resorted to pulling goalie Craig Anderson after he allowed his third goal on 12 shots in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

"I thought [about] just trying to stall things, without taking a timeout," Boucher said. "Then put him back in because he's my man. I have total confidence in him. I want him to know that. I want him to go back out there."

The move backfired. 

 

[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Senators series coverageSenators believe they can bounce back after loss to Penguins in Game 5]

 

Anderson, who was replaced by Mike Condon at 16:04 of the first, returned 88 seconds later and allowed a fourth goal, this one to forward Scott Wilson, before the end period.

The rout was on and Condon was put back in for the final 40 minutes of the Penguins' 7-0 win at PPG Paints Arena.

Anderson finished with 10 saves on 14 shots. Condon allowed three goals on 22 shots.

The Senators trail the best-of-7 series 3-2 and face elimination in Game 6 at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), where Anderson will be the starting goalie, Boucher said.

Boucher scoffed when he was asked if Anderson would be the starter.

Video: OTT@PIT, Gm5: Boucher on Sens' moving on after loss

"Oh my God," he said. "I know you do [have to ask the question], but you should not."

Anderson said he understood why he was pulled when he was pulled.

"Momentum," he said. "Playoffs are all about momentum. Trying to buy some time, get momentum back on our side, and it just didn't work. The other option is to take a timeout, but then you lose your [coach's] challenge. It's just one of those things."

He said he was mentally prepared to go back in immediately because Boucher told him to stay ready and that he was thinking about putting him back in.

Anderson said Wilson's goal was not a result of any loss of focus. He called it bad luck.

Video: OTT@PIT, Gm5: Anderson makes a pair of strong saves

"That's all it was," Anderson said. "I make the first save, puck goes below line, hits the boards and the guy just throws it back off the side of the net. It goes up in the air, hits me on the back of the leg, up around my calf. What are you going to do? It's just one of those nights. It was just not a good performance from all 20 guys in the white sweaters."

Another one in Game 6 and the Senators' magical, and some would say improbable, ride in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be over.

"We still have another game to play," Anderson said. "We can change our performance for the next game and be prepared to come out and do battle and give ourselves a chance. I think we've done a pretty good job throughout the playoffs of whether we win or lose being ready for the next game and making sure we're ready to go."

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