May the last man standing please turn out the arena lights.
Eight days after their best player, Erik Karlsson, was carried off the ice in Pittsburgh, the Ottawa Senators watched in disbelief Thursday night as their all-world goaltender was carted off the ice in Ottawa.
Craig Anderson, the NHL's top goaltender this season and the main reason the Senators are still in a playoff position despite a horrific run of injuries, suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury during a sequence early in the third period against the New York Rangers.
After being tripped up by Ottawa defenceman Marc Methot, Rangers forward Chris Kreider slammed into Anderson at high speed, driving him into the goalpost, taking his legs out from under him. Anderson's right leg twisted badly upon impact. Anderson dropped face down to the ice, tried to get to his feet, but dropped to the ice again, eventually carried off by Ottawa players and training staff. Anderson had been shutting out the Rangers in a 1-0 game at Scotiabank Place.
Following the game, the Senators revealed Anderson had suffered a sprained ankle and that he was considered day-to-day. Recovery times for sprained ankles can vary widely, so it remains unclear how long he will be out for.
Backup goaltender Ben Bishop came on in relief and surrendered the tying goal to Ryan Callahan on a power play and then shortly thereafter, the go-ahead goal by Ryan McDonough. The Senators fought back on a goal by Mika Zibanejad to send the game to overtime, then won the shootout on a goal by Kaspars Daugavins.
The Senators are already missing several premier players, including Karlsson, a Norris Trophy winner lost for the season with an Achilles tendon tear and centre Jason Spezza, just beginning his rehabilitation after back surgery. Winger Milan Michalek is also out with a knee injury and big defenceman Jared Cowen is lost for the season following hip surgery. SBP has become a MASH unit.
"We're going to start a pool on who's next (to get hurt). It's just - keep going with what we have and see what happens," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "It's never fun, especially when someone is playing as well as he is. I haven't heard what it is yet (ankle, day-to-day) but hopefully it's not too bad."
In a strange coincidence, Anderson, 31, of Park Ridge, Ill., suffered his injury just a couple of days before the one-year anniversary of a kitchen accident that sidelined him last February. Anderson cut himself with a knife while trying to separate frozen chicken. He returned to lead the Senators into a seven-game playoff series against these same Rangers.
Fortunately for the Senators, Robin Lehner of the Binghamton Senators has been the American Hockey League's best goalie. He was recalled following the game.
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