Craig Anderson wasn't included in the Ottawa Senators' group of All-Stars, and he's showing why that may have been a mistake.
Anderson should be in net Monday to help the Senators try to extend their winning streak to five games and beat the struggling Winnipeg Jets for the third time this season.
Ottawa (25-15-6) is among the biggest surprises in the NHL, sitting second in the Northeast Division, one point behind Boston. The strong play and some zealous fan voting helped four Senators - Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson - get elected starters for the All-Star game in Ottawa later this month.
Anderson is building a case that he could have been selected to join them.
Anderson ranks among the league leaders in wins (23), and leads NHL goaltenders in both shots faced (1,219) and saves (1,106). He's already one victory shy of his total from last season, which he split between Colorado and Ottawa.
Anderson has been fantastic over his last nine games, going 8-0-1 with a 1.66 goals-against average and one shutout. He's started every game of the Senators' four-game winning streak, including Saturday's 3-2 shootout victory at Montreal in which he made 33 saves through overtime and two more in the tiebreaker.
"Andy was huge in the shootout," said Alfredsson, who had the decisive score. "Andy played unbelievable and he gave me a chance to win it for us."
Anderson is 7-1-2 with a 2.46 GAA in 11 career meetings with the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise, and has been in net to win both games in this season's series. He made 35 saves in the Senators' 4-1 victory at Scotiabank Place on Oct. 20, when Spezza and Michalek had three points each.
Spezza, Ottawa's leader with 47 points, has six goals and three assists in his last seven games. The center also has four goals during a three-game streak.
Facing the Jets (20-19-5) may be a good way for Spezza to keep rolling. He has 11 goals and 18 assists in his last 19 meetings with the Jets/Thrashers.
Winnipeg has dropped five of six and three in a row following Saturday's 2-1 home loss to New Jersey, but coach Claude Noel is preaching patience.
"This is not the time to start beating up on this team," said Noel, whose club has been outscored 21-9 over its last six games. "It's not going to happen, not from my standpoint. If people want to do that, that's fine, but it's not going to happen from here.
"We want effort. We wanted to be proud of our effort (Saturday) and we wanted to work. We wanted to work together, work smart and we got that. That's what we did, so this thing will get itself resolved."
Evander Kane, the team leader with 18 goals, is mired in a season-high seven-game goal drought. He still needs one goal to match his career high set last season.
Kane scored twice in a 6-4 home loss to the Senators on Nov. 29.
Winnipeg may be without right wing Blake Wheeler, who went to the hospital Saturday after being hit in the throat by a shot from the Devils' Petr Sykora.
Wheeler, who leads Winnipeg with 23 assists and 32 points, has three goals and one assist in his last five games versus Ottawa.