At Rogers Place, the game began on a somber note and ended with emotions flowing uncontrollably in support for the Anderson family. While the score line read 2-0 in favor of the Senators against Edmonton Oilers, it was Craig Anderson’s heart-wrenching story that was in every spectator’s mind. Back on the ice rink for the first time since his wife was diagnosed with cancer, Ottawa Senator’s goalie remained unbeaten in the box.
Shot after shot, Craig Anderson made 37 saves that not only earned a convincing win for his team but also a standing ovation from the audience as he lumbered out of the arena in a huddle. Social media was flooded with tributes and fan messages from all parts of the world. In a tribute to the exemplary sportsmanship demonstrated by Craig Anderson, the NHL dedicated a special hashtag on Twitter, #HockeyFightsCancer.
Back after taking a leave of absence for the game against Calgary Flames which Senators lost 2-5, Anderson made his second consecutive shutout at NHL this season, extending his career record to 35. In his last game before the leave, the star goaltender made 22 saves in the 3-0 victory over Vancouver Canucks. For records’ sake, Anderson has not let a puck in for 1:21:54.
As per CBC News, the team management had announced that Anderson will take an indefinite leave after the Canuck’s game due to personal matter. The team did not explain the reason for the leave then, even as they extended unconditional support to the Anderson family through the Halloween Week. And then, he made a comeback. A surprise one at that.
Before the game against Flames, Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion quoted the reason for Anderson’s absence in the last game to the Ottawa Citizen. “Nicholle Anderson has been diagnosed with cancer.” According to Dorion, it was Craig Anderson’s 35-year old ailing wife who encouraged him to play the game on Sunday.
Before the puck dropped, Craig Anderson was flanked by Coach Guy Boucher and winger Bobby Ryan. After the game, Anderson rose as the First Star, earning a rousing ovation from the spectators, commentators and Oilers.
Into his 14th NHL season and 7th with Senators, every NHL fan is hoping for another shutout when Senators take on Carolina Hurricanes at the Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa.
Image source: NHL News