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'As far as you go, they're the ones taking you."

It hardly matters who says it – in this case we're thinking Terry Murray, when he coaching the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1997 Stanley Cup final – every NHL head coach knows it to be true.

And ever more true in this, the age of parity and the redead puck of limited scoring.

Just look at Game 6, Ottawa Senators versus Montreal Canadiens. One funny, surprising goal, one empty-net goal: 2-0 Habs, series over.

The goaltending position may have risen out of all proportion to the other positions on the ice, but until the league decides to "lower the mound" by either reducing the equipment (easily done) or expanding the net (less easily done) hockey fans are going to have to live with the reality that, with rare exceptions, goalies will decide who goes on and who goes golfing.

Nothing illustrates this better than the 2014-15 Ottawa Senators. They tried a coaching change in early December – out with Paul MacLean, in with Dave Cameron – and Cameron's record was a virtual reflection of MacLean's until happenstance produced an almost inexplicable change in team fortunes.

First, No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson injured his hand. Then, in a collision with teammate Clarke MacArthur, No. 2 goaltender Robin Lehner suffered a concussion that has kept him sidelined.

In comes Andrew Hammond, the complete unknown but soon recognized across the hockey world as the Hamburglar. Unheralded, dismissed even in the minor leagues, Hammond goes on a stunning 20-1-2 tear that lifts the Senators from 14th place to the playoffs.

"We wouldn't be here without him and what he did," said Anderson, who took the loss but also took time out when it was over to praise Hammond for giving Ottawa a season to remember rather than one to forget.

Two games in to the Senators' opening-round series with the Montreal Canadiens, with Ottawa having lost both games by a single goal, one in overtime, Cameron decided to switch back to Anderson, something he had previously done during Hammond's late-season charge with poor result.

Cameron, in his first NHL head coaching position, has no reputation for derring-do. Prior to taking over from MacLean, he was best known as the coach of the Canadian junior team that crashed at the Junior World championships in Buffalo back in 2011. Leading 3-0 heading into the third period of the gold-medal game, Cameron appeared to freeze as the Russians mounted a stunning comeback after changing their goaltender and being ripped during a timeout by coach Valeri Bragin. Russia scored five straight goals for the win.

Cameron acted this time, sitting Hammond, who had been slightly limping from a collision, and going with Anderson when it was clear the barstool and phone-in coaches were completely against it.

That's part of what makes this game so endlessly interesting. There are few, if any, definitives.

Anderson played well his first game but lost in overtime. He played brilliantly in winning Games 4 and 5, relegating Hammond to "Whomburglar" status in the fickle world of fandom and giving the Senators a chance to recover from being down three games to none – something that happens so rarely.

"It's the time of the year when you need to rise to the occasion," Anderson had said earlier in the day. He went on to say this applied to everyone in the room, but that, of course, is Craig Anderson. Highlights never come out of his mouth.

He would never, for example, say anything like Terry Murray once said or, even better, what long ago Detroit Red Wings GM Jack Adams said back when Terry Sawchuk was leading the Wings to victory: "What pitching is in a short series in baseball, goaltending is in the Stanley Cup playoffs."

Leave it, then, to Montreal goaltender Carey Price to speak for Anderson. In Price's opinion, Anderson played "extremely well" – even in losing.

The Canadiens came out strong and had all the shots on net for the opening nine minutes. Anderson effortlessly stopped them all.

At the other end, of course, was Carey Price, now universally accepted as the best goaltender in the game, a smooth player who glides across his crease as if he is playing table top hockey.

The Canadiens went ahead on a goal that no goaltender could be faulted for, a puck bouncing off the arm of Brendan Gallagher and floated in the air until he bunted it into the net behind Anderson.

Early in the second period, the Senators solved Price – Jean-Gabriel Pageau chipping in a rebound – but they could not solve the officiating, referee Chris Lee with an unfortunately quick whistle that may have earned him a lifetime "Ref you suck!" from the Canadian Tire Centre loyalists.

"It's a tough one to swallow," Anderson said of the loss following such a call.

"It's frustrating, but that's what happened."

When it was over, captain Erik Karlsson described the Senators' ruin as "unbelievable."

There might be a better word, but that fits.

It was a season where discouragement led to decisive action in coaching, where desperation in goal led to no other choice, where the back-up to the back-up excelled and where, in the end, goaltending was the story no matter how the teller chose to tell the tale.

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