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