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.
Enter the Hammond, who has 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.
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