OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Some nights are just more fun — and this was one of them for Craig Anderson.
The Ottawa Senators goalie made 34 saves to blank the Minnesota Wild 3-0 on Thursday, earning his second shutout this season and the 28th of his career.
Anderson, who beat Detroit on Tuesday as well, has looked relaxed of late and was often laughing and smiling after whistles as he spoke with his teammates.
“It’s easier to smile when you’re winning by three goals,” he said. “When things are going well and you’re winning, (it’s fun). The team just seemed to be throwing a lot of pucks at the net and you get a lot of whistles and freebie shots.”
Mike Hoffman scored twice and Clarke MacArthur had the other goal for the Senators (7-3-2).
Niklas Backstrom made 14 saves in the loss.
The Senators remained the only team in the NHL without a regulation loss on home ice — which is impressive considering how much Ottawa struggled at home last season. The Senators are 4-0-2 in their own building this season.
“We definitely have more confidence at home,” MacArthur said. “Whether we’re feeding off the crowd or we’re making good plays, we’re playing the way we should play at home, and winning games at home is going to be big for down the stretch.”
Once again, the Senators got some big contributions from their “kid” line — the trio of Hoffman, Mark Stone and Curtis Lazar.
“Shh, don’t tell anybody,” coach Paul MacLean joked. “I thought again they provided a lot of energy, and obviously they provided offense, and let’s just keep putting them out there.”
The young line enjoys playing together and has been one of Ottawa’s most consistent since being formed late last week.
“Since game one we feel like we clicked and we feel good playing with each other,” Hoffman said. “Moving forward here we want to continue to improve, and obviously the chemistry is there and I don’t think teams really expect it too much, so we kind of catch them a little bit.”
The Wild have outshot their opponents in all 12 games this season, but they’ve lost their past two.
Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said not much should be made of that stat.
“I think that our team game gives us a chance to do that,” he said. “I do feel that there are some guys that are going right now and I do know that there are some other guys who could give us more. I feel like there are some guys that are doing the minimum, the minimum as far as playing the system. You’ve got to do those things that are expected of everybody, but then you’ve got to bring a little something extra on top of that and I think that’s one thing that’s missing right now.”
Hoffman made it 3-0 at 2:06 of the third period with his second goal of the night in front of 16,867 at Canadian Tire Place. Stone, who extended his point streak to five games, found Hoffman all alone and he fired a shot that easily beat Backstrom.
Despite managing only four shots on goal in the second, the Senators scored on two of them.
MacArthur scored his team-leading seventh of the season on a power play at 2:23 to open the scoring. Erik Karlsson found Bobby Ryan down low and he made a quick pass to MacArthur, who beat Backstrom short side from just outside the crease.
Just more than 2 minutes later, Ottawa made it 2-0 when Backstrom allowed Hoffman’s shot to trickle through his pads.
The Wild had a number of chances but couldn’t put the puck past Anderson. He made two huge saves on one power play, Jason Zucker hit the post and then the goalie made a glove save on Thomas Vanek.
“Andy played great for us,” MacArthur said. “We tried to give him a couple, but he was there to make some good saves in the second and in the third, too, he made a couple great saves.”
Anderson was just as good in the first period when the Senators were outshot 9-5. Ottawa had back-to-back power plays, but was unable to register a single shot on goal.
NOTES: The Senators will be without D Marc Methot (back) indefinitely. D Chris Phillips (lower body) is day to day. … RW Erik Condra and LW Colin Greening were healthy scratches for Ottawa. The Wild were without LW Zach Parise (lower body, day to day), LW Matt Cooke (lower body, indefinite), D Jared Spurgeon (shoulder, indefinite) and D Keith Ballard (flu, indefinite). D Jonathan Blum was a healthy scratch.
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