Exactly one month after suffering a freak injury in a home accident, Craig Anderson is ready to return to the net for the Ottawa Senators.
The club confirmed that Anderson will start on Friday night when the club visits the Montreal Canadiens.
“We didn’t know how the recovery was going to be and how quickly the strength would come back and the functionality of the finger,” Anderson said Thursday. “It’s hard to put a timeline on it, but obviously this is best-case scenario. We did everything in our power to make sure we pushed it so that I could be back as soon as possible.”
Head coach Paul MacLean said that Anderson would resume his status as the club’s top netminder and would likely start the majority of the team’s final eight regular season games.
“He’s the number one goalie so we’d like to see him play as many as he can get into. That’s the way it’s been all season long,” MacLean said.
“Any time you get a player back, the team gets confidence. And in that position he’s been there a lot for us and played real well for us. So I think the team has confidence in him and it should be really positive.”
Anderson suffered a severed tendon in his right pinkie finger on Feb. 22 after an accident at his home. At the time, it was unclear how much time Anderson would miss because of the injury. In the end, he missed a total of 12 games, with the Senators posting a 5-5-2 record in his absence. Ben Bishop, who started the last seven games, will serve as Anderson’s back-up going forward.
“For me, it’s just getting back into the flow of things. The guys have been playing really well and I just want to get back in there and continue to give the team a chance to win,” Anderson said. “I just want to make sure that when I get back in there I’m making the saves I’m supposed to be making and doing everything I possibly can to help the team win.”
MacLean said he expects Anderson to be on top of his game on Friday, with no setbacks from a month away from the net.
“I think he’s moved well in the net and handled the puck efficiently,” MacLean added. “He feels and we feel that he’s got the necessary work in, so the conditioning part isn’t an issue. He feels that he’s ready to go.”