Avalanche-Islanders Preview

Craig Anderson was a big reason for the Colorado Avalanche’s

stunning run to the playoffs last season. He’s already making his

presence felt in 2010-11.

Anderson should be in net again Saturday night when the

Avalanche attempt to beat the New York Islanders on the road for

the first time in nearly 12 years.

Anderson led the NHL in shots faced and saves last season, while

achieving personal-bests of 38 wins and seven shutouts. His 2.64

goals-against average in a career-high 71 games helped lead the

Avalanche (3-1-0) to the playoffs after finishing with a Western

Conference-low 69 points in 2008-09.

Anderson has picked up where he left off, winning two of three

games with a 2.64 GAA and a .932 save percentage this season.

He was superb Friday, making 41 saves – 17 in the first period –

and outplaying future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur in a 3-2 victory

at New Jersey.

“It’s just one of those nights that you just try to be big at

times and when you’re reading and reacting to the play you’re in

position and the game looks easy,” Anderson said. “I think

sometimes guys make spectacular saves because they get out of

position. We’re all pretty agile to make desperation saves, but

sometimes when a goalie looks like he’s not working very hard it’s

because he’s working very smart.”

Anderson lost the only meeting between Colorado and New York

(1-1-2) last season on Jan. 6, making 32 stops in a 3-2 home

defeat. He’s 2-1 with a 2.69 GAA and a shutout in four games at

Nassau Memorial Coliseum, but none have come with Colorado.

The Avalanche have dropped five in a row on Long Island, but

strong offensive balance could help them earn their first win there

since Dec. 8, 1998.

Colorado’s 13 goals have been scored by 10 different players.

Chris Stewart, David Jones and Paul Stastny have two apiece.

Stewart, who led Colorado with 28 goals last season, had a goal

and an assist Friday. The right wing, who turns 23 later this

month, also found the net against the Islanders in January.

The Avalanche are 2-1-0 on their five-game road trip, which

concludes against the New York Rangers on Monday.

The Islanders are trying to rebound from Friday’s 3-2 overtime

loss at Pittsburgh. Rick DiPietro gave up the winning goal to Alex

Goligoski 1:51 into the extra session. All three of the Islanders’

losses have come by one-goal margins.

New York’s Blake Comeau is off to a strong start with three

goals and three assists. The left wing was involved in a

controversial play Friday, getting checked illegally by the

Penguins’ Kris Letang, who received a 5-minute major and a game

misconduct.

Comeau, though, didn’t miss a shift and set up both New York

scores.

Comeau has 14 goals and nine assists in his last 14 home games

as the Islanders have gone 9-3-2. However, he’s mustered only one

assist in three meetings with the Avalanche.