OTTAWA - Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson says he thrives on playing consecutive games.
That's a good thing for the Senators, as it appears he won't be getting a break any time soon.
With Andrew Hammond sidelined with a concussion the Senators will be relying on Anderson to carry the goaltending workload for the foreseeable future. The 34-year-old has started the last seven games and is expected to play all three home games this week.
The Senators initially recalled Matt O'Connor from Binghamton after Hammond was injured, but O'Connor was sent down last week and Chris Driedger was recalled for the Senators three-game road trip last week. Driedger remains with the team, but at this point it doesn't appear he will play unless necessary.
Anderson says he has no problem carrying a heavy workload.
"I love it," he said. "I get to watch everybody else play every night. It's one of those things where you just want to be in there and give the team a chance to win and be the guy that they're relying on. It's a good feeling."
Anderson says he's always been a guy who likes to play a lot of games and just ensures he prepares accordingly.
"You just have to stay on top of your conditioning to make sure you're doing enough to stay mentally and physically sharp and that's kind of the key," Anderson said. "Sometimes it's a mental grind where you just have to battle through it. When you're playing every other night you don't really have time to think about it."
Anderson says he ensures he keeps on top of his nutrition and gets the necessary rest to stay in game shape.
Senators coach Dave Cameron says he doesn't worry about Anderson carrying a heavier workload.
"The concern is if he's no good, then you've got a lot of concerns your number one's no good," said Cameron with a laugh. "Andy's great. We'll monitor his play and I think your goalie is like everybody else. They never complain when they play so it's up to us to monitor it."
It also helps when Anderson doesn't have to face 40 or more shots every game. So far the Senators have done a good job supporting Anderson as he's averaged 33 shots through his last seven games.
"Playing lots of games is not an issue, but when you start seeing 40, 50 shots a night and you're wearing yourself out that way I think that sort of takes a toll," Anderson said. "With the way we've played the last 10 games or so it's been a lot easier on the goalies and we've had a little bit more energy level because of it."
It also helps that the Senators have been producing more offence of late and been able to give their goaltender a bit of a reprieve. The Senators have gone 4-1-2 since Hammond was injured and have outscored their opponents 26-17.
"I think we made a lot of strides in our game," said forward Bobby Ryan. "One of the focal points for us was our starts. We still have some things to identify and grow in our game, but you look at November as, hopefully, a huge stepping stone for us. Obviously the scoreboard reflects where we're headed and what we think we've accomplished so far. It was a positive month."
Notes: There is no timetable for the return of Hammond, forward Clarke MacArthur (concussion) or defenceman Chris Phillips (back).