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A timely trade saved the Ottawa Senators‘ season a year ago.
Last November, Senators general manager Pierre Dorion sent a late pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for fill-in goaltender Mike Condon, a necessary move with starter Craig Anderson away on a leave of absence.
The deal ultimately proved to save the Senators’ season, as Condon provided stability between the pipes and an impressive 19-14-6 showing in 40 games.
Three months later, Anderson rejoined the Senators, claiming a shutout in his first game back, and marking the first of many top performances in what became one of his best seasons since coming to Ottawa in 2011.
Together, Anderson and Condon were key pieces in helping the Senators claim second place in the Atlantic Division, and later a trip to the conference finals. It was the Senators’ finest season in a decade.
Turn the page to this season and everything has changed.
After owning the NHL’s eighth-best save percentage a year ago, the tandem of Condon and Anderson has tumbled down the charts in 2017-18, currently sitting 29th league-wide with an ugly .893 save rate that stands ahead of only the Edmonton Oilers (.891) and Buffalo Sabres (.888).
While the latest criticism on the slumping Senators has been directed toward the team’s poor rhythm following the addition of center Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche – the Senators have won just three of 11 games since his acquisition – Ottawa’s inability to keep pucks out of its own net has been a bigger issue.
That point was no more evident than in a pair of weekend outings that saw the Senators allow 10 goals in two games, in which both Anderson and Condon received a start but neither finished the night.
The Senators came away with a win in one of the affairs, but the performances were certainly cause for concern. In all, Condon saw 57 minutes of ice time over the weekend, stopping just 37 of the 41 pucks directed toward his cage. Anderson was hardly any better, as five of 45 shots found their way through in just under 62 minutes.
As it stands, Ottawa has dipped five points from a playoff position, a trend that will only continue without shored-up performances from the Senators’ formerly great goaltending duo.