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Craig Anderson, Senators focused on defeating Penguins to reach Cup Final

Ottawa goaltender says, 'When you get to be a guy my age, you run out of next years'

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA -- One win away from playing in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time, Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson doesn't want to waste what could be the last best opportunity of his 14-season NHL career.

The Senators will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) with the winner advancing to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Nashville Predators on Monday.

"You never know when it's going to happen again," Anderson, 36, said Wednesday. "As a young player, you always think, 'There's always next year.' When you get to be a guy my age, you run out of next years. You make the most of your moments and if it's in your cards to be one of the select few to be able to be in the opportunity we're in, it's definitely an honor.

"You've got to enjoy the moment, but stay in the moment. As much as you love to say 'There's always next year,' you can ask every single player that's been in my position, the ticking time clock, it ends."

 

[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Senators series coverage]

 

It has been a season of bounce-backs for Anderson and the Senators. He took a two-month leave of absence beginning in December to be with his wife, Nicholle, who was being treated for throat cancer, and returned to help Ottawa finish second in the Atlantic Division.

Anderson and the Senators defeated the New York Rangers in the second round after losing Games 3 and 4.

They came back to win 2-1 against the Penguins in Game 6 on Tuesday after losing 7-0 in Game 5 on Sunday, when Anderson was pulled after giving up four goals on 14 shots.

Anderson made 45 saves in Game 6. If it takes another 45-save performance to win Game 7, that's fine with him.

Video: PIT@OTT, Gm6: Anderson extends pad to deny Wilson

"Whatever it takes," he said. "I think you have to be prepared for anything, stay in the moment as best you can and when you're in the moment you're worried about the next shift. I don't think you worry too much about how many shots."

The Senators know they will have to be better in front of Anderson than they were in Game 6 to increase their chances of advancing to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2007.

"[Anderson] played an incredible game for us," forward Clarke MacArthur said. "We didn't have a lot of shots (30), but I thought we did a better job in the middle of the ice. We were opportunistic like we've been all year. In Game 7, anything can happen.

"We've got to get on the offense a little more. We don't want to give up that much zone time. At the same time, we were deflecting a lot of things to the outside, a lot of perimeter shots. We'll do some slight adjustments, but what we got [Tuesday] is what we are going to be looking for [Thursday]."

Senators coach Guy Boucher, who has been warning about the perils of playing a run-and-gun game with the offensively gifted Penguins, agreed.

"The goal is to generate more goals than the opponent, and that's what we did [Tuesday]. That's all we're asking for," Boucher said. "We have to win the same way. There's no other way for us to win. That is exactly the problem the previous games. We tried to win another way and we got our butts kicked."

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