Ottawa coach takes priest’s goaltending advice

Andrew Hammond allowed just one goal in regulation and stopped every shot he faced in the shootout to get Ottawa a 2-1 win over Philadelphia.

If Dave Cameron wasn’t a believer, he is now.

Prior to the resurgent Ottawa Senators’ tilt versus the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday, the home team’s head coach went to mass presumably for some spiritual guidance but left with some useful career advice.

“I went to church [Saturday] night. And I wasn’t inside the church, and the priest came running up to me and said, ‘You gotta start the young fella, you gotta start the young fella.’ [It was] Father Muldoon,” Cameron told reporters Sunday.

“I said, ‘Thank you, I think I’m going to.’ But I was just thinking, if his agent gets a hold of that – imagine his negotiating power when God is on his side? That might be the biggest contract in the history of Ottawa.

“I’ll be scared to death if I don’t start him. I’ll never go to confession again. I’ll be run right out of church.”

So Cameron heeded Muldoon’s sermon and did start the young fella, 27-year-old Andrew “Hamburglar” Hammond — a decision that paid off divinely.

The undrafted Hammond stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced, then turned away Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds in the shootout to secure his 10th victory in 11 NHL decisions. A fan threw a hamburger on the ice, and he picked that up too.

Now working with a godly .955 save percentage, Hammond is just the second goaltender in league history to allow two goals in each of his first 11 career starts, according to SN Stats.

The Senators are rallying something silly down the stretch, having won 11 of their last 13. Though five points behind the Boston Bruins and seven points back of the Washington Capitals for a wild-card spot, Ottawa holds a game in hand over Boston and two games over Washington.

We know who Cameron’s priest will want him to start Thursday when the Senators host the Bruins.

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