HURRICANES (14-25-5) at SENATORS (18-17-8)
TV: CITY, TVA Sports 2
OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson will play his 400th NHL game Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes at Canadian Tire Centre.
The Hurricanes are expected to scratch forwards Alexander Semin (it will be his 12th "did not play" of the season) and Andrej Nestrasil, and defenseman John-Michael Liles.
Forwards Brad Malone and Chris Terry and defenseman Brett Bellmore are expected to play.
Anderson, 33, was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the third round (No. 73) of the 2001 NHL Draft.
Anderson played 109 games the first seven seasons of his career in Chicago (56 games from 2002-03 to 2005-06) and the Florida Panthers (53 games from 2006-07 to 2008-09) as he struggled to establish himself as a starter in the NHL.
His career took off when he played 71 games with the Colorado Avalanche in 2009-10. He was traded to the Senators the next season.
Did he ever think he was going to play 400 NHL games?
"Not when I was playing 15 games a year. That would have taken me a lot of years," he said. "You have to be proud. It's a hard league to be in and a hard league to stay in. A lot of guys make it to the League and a lot of guys change from year to year.
"Being around as long as I have, it wasn't there by accident. Sometimes being a young guy you have a lot of talent but you don't have the hard work and work ethic that keeps you there. That's what keeps you here. Hard work and dedication to your teammates and the game."
In his fifth season with the Senators, Anderson has established himself as their best and most consistent player. His save percentage this season is .929, fourth in the NHL.
Game in and game out this season, Anderson has given the Senators a chance to win. The goaltending has been the best part of the Senators this season.
The Senators are 10 points out of the second wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They are in a stretch of games when they play 12 of 15 at home, starting with a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
"I think over our last stretch of 10 games or so, we maybe haven't got the results we always look for but we've played the way we need to play to give ourselves a chance to win," Anderson said. "You're not going to win every game, but if you give yourself a chance to win every game, that's where group effort and the way we're playing, you see the difference. We feel good about where we're at right now as far as growing and moving towards the goal of playing well.
"[Making the playoffs is] going to be a hard and tough mountain to climb, but if we believe in here we're going in the right direction, anything can happen. There could be injuries down the stretch for other teams. Every team kind of goes through ups and downs. Hopefully we got ours out of the way at the start of the year."
The Senators caught the Canadiens in a back-to-back situation and it will be the same against the Hurricanes on Saturday. Carolina lost 3-0 to the Vancouver Canucks at home Friday.
The Hurricanes are in last place in the Metropolitan Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference; since Jan. 1, they are 4-2-1.
Here are the projected lineups:
Eric Staal – Jordan Staal – Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner – Riley Nash – Chris Terry
Nathan Gerbe – Victor Rask – Jiri Tlusty
Brad Malone – Jay McClement – Pat Dwyer
Andrej Sekera – Justin Faulk
Tim Gleason – Ryan Murphy
Ron Hainsey – Brett Bellemore
Scratched: Alexander Semin, Andrej Nestrasil, John-Michael Liles
Clarke MacArthur -- Kyle Turris – Alex Chiasson
Mike Hoffman – Mika Zibanejad -- Bobby Ryan
Erik Condra -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Curtis Lazar
Milan Michalek -- David Legwand – Mark Stone
Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen -- Cody Ceci
Patrick Wiercioch -- Eric Gryba
Scratched: Colin Greening, Chris Phillips
Injured: Zack Smith (wrist), Chris Neil (knee), Mark Borowiecki (lacerated leg)
Status report: Cameron is going with the same lineup that defeated the Canadiens on Thursday. … Phillips is scratched for the second straight game and for the seventh game this season. He remains three behind Daniel Alfredsson in games for the Senators. Alfredsson played 1,178. … Cameron said Neil needs a couple of days of practice with contact before he can return from his knee injury.
Who's hot: Stone and Ryan each have a goal and four assists in the past four games. … Michalek has two goals and two assists in the past three games.