Three wins against three California teams – two goals allowed in three games. No big deal for a goaltender with one game NHL experience leading into this season and so-so AHL numbers last year and very mediocre numbers in the minors this year. But Ottawa's 27-year-old Andrew Hammond – whose nickname per a recent story is ‘The Hamburglar’ hasn’t just won for the Senators. He has won and thrived in a major way for the Sens, going 5-0-0 with a 1.31 goals against average and .957 save percentage this year. From after Ottawa’s 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night: “I don’t think winning ever gets old,” said Hammond, who has allowed a total of five goals during his five-game run. “It’s starting to become more about the team now, and seeing everyone else enjoying it as much as I am is pretty cool, too. “Obviously it’s a pretty good accomplishment,” he added of the sweep. “It gives us confidence going into the rest of the season, that we can go into any arena and beat any team, because these are some of the best teams in the league. To do that, you’re going to feel pretty good about yourself.” Beyond ‘The Hamburgler’ the Ottawa Citizen brought up legendary Canadiens netminder Ken Dryden (who had quite the NHL beginning himself) when writing about Hammond’s hot start. Gaaaaa. The Dryden comparisons are playful, in jest. Hammond, so calm and unassuming he told a TSN reporter, “I try to get nervous” but can’t manage it, knows he’s neither Dryden nor Carey Price, but plans to “ride the wave” of this improbable, if not impossible, run of unexpected glory for as long as he can. Hammond has been thrust into a leading role for the Senators based off to injuries to Ottawa starting goaltender Craig Anderson and then backup Robin Lehner. Enter the Hammond, who ha won five straight games, including wins against Montreal, the Ducks and the Kings, all Stanley Cup contenders. The Senators are just seven points back of the playoffs. Per Sports Club Stats , Ottawa has a 23.0 percent chance of making the playoffs. This isn’t exactly great, but better than before the Sens’ five-game winning streak which has coincided with Hammond’s time in goal. Said Mark Stone to The Sun “We’re trying to make a playoff push … We’ve seen we’ve been able to gain seven or eight points in the last two or three weeks. So we know what we’re capable of and we’ve got to keep continuing to push forward.” It’s not like the Senators have poor goaltending, or had poor goaltending earlier in the year. Anderson is one of the better netminders in the NHL and had a 2.37 goals against average and .927 save percentage before he got hurt. But Hammond has been a revelation since he arrived from Binghamton – a product of Bowling Green State University, and a native of White Rock, British Columbia. Said Hammond in an Ottawa Sun piece: " It's flattering, and something I didn't see happening a few weeks ago, and I don't think anybody else did, but the opportunity is here," he said. "The biggest thing for me is, obviously you can't keep this up forever. Carey Price is the best goalie in the world, he goes through spells like this. I'm not Carey Price and I still have a long ways to go. I'm just trying to enjoy it, and ride the wave." According to the story, earlier in the year, Hammond was pulled 36 seconds into a game with Binghamton. He allowed three goals on three shots on goal. What a difference a few months makes. "It's obviously very crazy what's going on right now." he said. Crazy? Not really. Prolific and interesting. Absolutely. - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY
No. 1 Star: Paul Stastny, St. Louis Blues Stastny set up Dmitji Jaskin’s first-period goal and scored the game-winner in the third period as the Blues survived the Oilers, 201. No. 2 Star: Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils The Devils goalie made 33 saves, preserving an Andy Greene goal until Travis Zajac’s empty netter, as New Jersey beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-0. No. 3 Star: Jay McClement, Carolina Hurricanes McClement scored to tie the game in the first and then to give the Hurricanes a two-goal lead in the second period as Carolina stunned the New York Islanders, 5-3. Honorable Mention: Brandon Pirri scored twice to lead the Florida Panthers back against the Buffalo Sabres in a 5-3 win. … Alexey Marchenko’s first NHL goal tied the game and Tomas Tatar won it with a power-play goal in the Detroit Red Wings’ 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators. … Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara all scored in the Boston Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. … Carey Price made 30 saves at the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-0. David Desharnais had two goals. … Steve Mason made 34 saves and Michael Del Zotto scored a big shorthanded goal in the third period as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the New York Rangers, 4-2. … Justin Fontaine scored a goal and an assist and Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves to defeat the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1. … The Ottawa Senators topped the San Jose Sharks, 3-2, as Mike Hoffman had two goals and Andrew Hammond won again. Did You Know? Martin Erat scored on Tuukka Rask, which means Terminix will give him free extermination services for life. Dishonorable Mention: Mike Smith lost his eighth straight decision and was pulled after giving up four goals in 31:50. … Richard Panik, Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak and Roman Polak were all minus-3. … Cody McLeod jumped Charlie Coyle, nearly sparked a benches brawl and was given 17 penalty minutes. … The Sharks dropped to 0-6-2 at home in February. ... The Wild have won all four games against the Avalanche this season, outscoring them 12-1.
The Florida Panthers have acquired both Dany Heatley and Jaromir Jagr in the last few days, which means it’s entirely possible they’re using a copy of EA Sports NHL ’96 to generate trades. (“TRADE ACCEPTED!”) Heatley was traded by the Anaheim Ducks along with a third-round pick to the Panthers for forward Tomas Fleischmann on Saturday. Heatley had been toiling in the AHL for the Norfolk Admirals since December, recently having gone 15 games without a goal. The Panthers say the 34-year-old who recorded back-to-back 50-goal seasons from 2005-2007 is expected to report to AHL San Antonio. Fleischmann, 30, was expected to be dealt at the trade deadline because he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. He has seven goals and 21 assists in 52 games, skating to a plus-12. Fleischmann was a drag on possession this season. Speculation had been that Fleischmann would land in Anaheim as a reunion with his former Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, who has added a few former Caps to his roster during his time in Cali (like David Steckel, Mathieu Perreault). He’s an OK depth player offensively, although maddeningly inconsistent. He was never a regular on the Capitals’ top line when Boudreau was there; could he get a shot with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry? Heatley makes $1 million against the cap. Fleischmann makes $4.5 million. At least one of them will be playing in the playoffs. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY :