TORONTO — Ottawa coach Guy Boucher didn’t think twice about going back with Craig Anderson in net against Toronto, one night after yanking him in an 8-2 loss to Chicago.
Anderson responded with 44 saves and Tom Pyatt scored the winner with 3:05 to play as the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 4-3 on Wednesday in the final game for both teams before starting their bye weeks.
“I knew right away, for me when you look at it, he only played 30 minutes (against Chicago), it gives me the chance to play him the next day,” said Boucher.
“I was very confident he would come in and have a rebound game and that’s exactly what he did.”
Anderson allowed four goals on 26 shots 24 hours earlier against the Blackhawks.
“You have to put it behind you as quickly as possible,” said Anderson. “You have to leave that in the past and move on.”
Pyatt took a feed from Matt Duchene on a 3-on-1 after Morgan Rielly got caught pinching at Ottawa’s blue line and beat Frederik Andersen high blocker side for the winning goal.
“Just some miscommunication between the forward and I. It’s my fault for going,” said Rielly, who made it a 3-3 game at 12:28 of the third with a point shot Anderson couldn’t see.
“I thought he was really, really good and he’d probably like to have the mistake back,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said about his defenceman.
Babcock pulled Andersen with over two minutes to play, looking for the equalizer, but couldn’t get it as Toronto dropped its second game in a row.
“We had lots of opportunities but we got impatient,” said Babcock. “We had two pinches with no (forward back) that cost us two goals. In the end you have to play right.
“Give Anderson credit. He was pulled last night and a proud guy came back tonight and played real well.”
Mike Hoffman got inside position on James van Riemsdyk in front of the Leafs net and finished off a pass from Duchene with an easy tap-in to make it 2-0 just 1:52 into the second period.
Toronto couldn’t solve Anderson through 36 minutes despite 28 shots against the Ottawa netminder up to that point — including eight alone from van Riemsdyk.
Andreas Borgman finally got one past him though, from the point with 1:50 to play in the second.
Van Riemsdyk didn’t make a mistake with his ninth shot of the night, taking a pass from Tyler Bozak and going through his legs with the puck before beating Anderson from in close 56 seconds into the third period.
Van Riemsdyk finished the game with a career-high 10 shots on net.
“I thought their goalie played extremely well and you’ve got to tip your cap to him for that,” said van Riemsdyk. “He made a lot of point-blank saves.”
Gabriel Dumont put Ottawa back ahead 3-2 only 1:21 later, following up his initial shot off the endboards that bounced out front of the net for a second attempt.
Boucher, who mentioned that some of the players on his team are fighting sickness, was impressed with their bounce-back performance despite guys like Erik Karlsson and Duchene being under the weather.
“Coming in here being able to sustain 60 minutes of hard work on the same page against a team like that shows our guys are working hard,” said Boucher.
Toronto’s next game is Tuesday when it hosts St. Louis. Ottawa returns to the ice Jan. 18 at home against the Blues.