Anyone who stayed up to watch the end of the Colorado Avalanche game last night saw one of the best goalie playoff performances in the history of the team. Craig Anderson was a virtual brick wall and ensured the Avs’ 1-0 win over the San Jose Sharks, putting the team up 2-1 in the best-of-seven playoff series heading into Tuesday night’s game four.
To be fair, though, the Avs couldn’t seem to figure out San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabakov, and it took one of the flukiest goals ever to end the game, in overtime. Less than one minute into the extra period, the Avs dumped the puck into San Jose’s corner. San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle tried to backhand the puck around the back of his own goal but ended up banking the puck off his goalie, putting it in the net and ending the game (recap via NHL.com).
Avs rookie Ryan O’Reilly was credited with the goal, but it’s unclear whether his stick hit the puck after Boyle whipped it toward the goal or if he was simply near the unlucky defenseman. Regardless, it was a lucky win: It sure didn’t look like the Avs were going to move anything past Nabakov on their own. The Avs managed just 17 shots on the Sharks, compared to the 51 shots that came at Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson.
The Denver Post points out that Anderson pulled off the best goalie playoff performance for the Avs since Patrick Roy blocked 63 shots in a triple-overtime Stanley Cup-winning performance against the Florida Panthers in 1996. Still, the Avs will need to be much more aggressive and effective on the offensive side if they hope to eventually down the Sharks in the series.