The “Hamburglar” legend continues to grow for the Ottawa Senators.
And Tuesday, it was at the Carolina Hurricanes’ expense.
Goalie Andrew Hammond matched a longstanding NHL record as the Senators edged the Hurricanes 2-1 in overtime at PNC Arena, winning on Mark Stone’s goal with 13.4 seconds remaining.
Kyle Turris maneuvered the puck past Canes defenseman Ryan Murphy, then set up Stone for the winner. But the star of the game was Hammond, the nerveless rookie who has saved Ottawa’s season.
Hammond, nicknamed the “Hamburglar” since his college days at Bowling Green, became the second goalie in NHL history to allow two or fewer goals in his first 12 NHL starts. He tied the record set by Frank Brimsek with the Boston Bruins in 1938.
Center Elias Lindholm scored for the Hurricanes in the first, and defenseman Patrick Wiercioch tied it with a power-play goal in the second for Ottawa. With Hammond and Canes goalie Anton Khudobin sharp, matching each other’s big stops, both teams kept waiting for the other to break.
Both had their chances in an end-to-end overtime before Stone won it with his 18th goal of the season as the Senators (34-24-11) continued to push for the final wild-card playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa trails eighth-place Boston by four points, with a game in hand.
“That’s one of the most exciting overtimes I’ve ever been a part of,” Canes coach Bill Peters said. “It was a hard-fought game, a good game. They played very well, very tight, and I thought we played the same way.”
The game had barely begun when Canes forward Brad Malone dropped the gloves to fight the Senators’ Mark Borowiecki. In the third, Carolina defenseman Ron Hainsey wrestled Mike Hoffman to the ice, and the Canes’ Nathan Gerbe later dueled Milan Michalek.
“Somebody called me today and said what are you trying to do down the stretch?” Peters said. “I said we’re going to play hard, we’re going to compete.
“I thought the atmosphere in the building was outstanding. The fans were into it. It was loud. It was a real intense hockey game … kind of like a playoff-style hockey game.”
The Canes won’t be in the playoffs but had owned the Senators in PNC Arena, going 11-0-1 in the past 12 games, and again were the better team in the first period Tuesday.
Khudobin faced 16 of Ottawa’s 33 shots in the second. The Canes (26-34-9) then put 18 shots on Hammond in the third, including some heavy shots by Jordan Staal and Eric Staal and a rebound try by Victor Rask.
Hammond stopped an early shot by Justin Faulk in the overtime and later a shot by Murphy from the slot. Khudobin, who did his part in the game with 31 saves, made a good stop on Michalek in the OT.
“(Khudobin) kept us in the game, but we couldn’t pull it out for him,” said Canes winger Jeff Skinner, who set up Lindholm’s goal with a nice cross-ice pass.
The Hurricanes were incensed when defenseman John-Michael Liles was taken down from behind by the Senators’ Curtis Lazar with less than four minutes to play in regulation. No penalty was called as Lazar fell into the back of Liles’ leg, and Peters said the injury “didn’t look good.”
Hammond, 27, spent much of this season with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL before being recalled by Ottawa on Jan. 29. His first appearance was in relief of injured goalie Robin Lehner in a Feb. 16 game against the Canes in Ottawa, and he gave up two goals on five shots in a 6-3 loss.
Lehner suffered a concussion, and Hammond suddenly started winning games. In his first 11 starts, he was 10-0-1 with two shutouts. He’s now 11-0-1.
“That was as good an effort as he’s had for us,” Senators coach Dave Cameron said. “He’s been awesome. His play speaks for itself.”