ANDERSON IS KING. 51 save shutout leads Avs to 1-0 victory in OT.

DENVER - APRIL 18: Goalie Craig Anderson #41 of the Colorado Avalanche prepares to make a save as Patrick Marleau #12 and Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks look to redirect the puck in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on April 18, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

 

W O W

Craig Anderson stands on his head and absolutely steals game three in Denver. The Avs were horribly outplayed in the final two periods, but none of that matters right now. Andy is King.

Anderson gets the much deserved first star, in fact, he can have all three stars. As Kyle Keefe from Altitude tried to interview him on ice, the crowd kept chanting "ANDY, ANDY" postponing any interview. Anderson skated around for another victory lap, grinning ear-to-ear. We just witnessed the rise of an elite goalie tonight. And I believe.

I've provided a detailed play-by-play after the jump for any poor soul who may have missed this amazing game. But here is a summary of how the game played out:

The first period played out much like game one, albeit with a ton more nastiness. Both teams came out playing fast and physical. Lots of hits by both teams, not many quality scoring chances. Props to McLeod, Tucker, Galiardi and Yip who brought an extra dose of badass to the first period. Yip did a great job finishing checks. Avs out hit the Sharks 10-9 in the first.

The Avs came out firing and at one point led 7-2 in shots, but eventually the Sharks evened it up. The Avs entered intermission up 9-8 in shots. After allowing 52 shots in game 2, the boys in burgundy wisely tightened things up in their own end in the first.

Big bummer of the period was another injury. Hejduk goes down as he collides with SoS entering the zone (I blame Blake). The Avalanche said it was an upper body injury, but it looked like it could either be his knee, or possibly his head as the Altitududes speculated. The Duke did look a bit 'lost' when he finally did get to his feet. This could be devastating to the Avs. They can't afford to lose another top 6 forward. Watch out Yip, Duchene's wingers are dropping like flies. Get thee well soon Milan.

Due to the injury to Hejduk the Avs started the second period with a new patchwork second line of: Yip-Duchene-Stoa.

The Sharks dominated the second period and really took it to the Avs. The Sharks snagged the lead in shots 29-12 - which means the Avs only had 3 second period shots to the Sharks 21. Too much standing around by the Avs. Nobody particularly playing "on their toes" besides O'Reilly and Hendricks in the second. The Avs are lucky to get out of the period still tied at zero. Thank you Craig Anderson. He flat out robbed Marleau at the side of the net. Both goaltenders were playing fantastic to this point, but it was Anderson who again was handling a ridiculous workload and making the difference in the game.

The third picked up where the second left off, with the Sharks peppering the Colorado goal tender with a barrage of shots. This is becoming a tired theme, but Andy continues to keep his team in this game they have little right still being in. The Sharks completely dominated the Avs in the third. It was ugly. The Avs kept taking penalties, but the PK was working hard and was 6-for-6 through three periods. Your best player on the PK has to be your goalie, and Anderson was a God among men tonight. As he skated off the ice at the end of the third, the Pepsi Center crowd chanted "ANDY, ANDY". He deserves it, and more. He had 50 saves through regulation.

Tack on one more save in OT for Andy, and then just 51 seconds into the extra frame, O'Reily pressures Dan Boyle in the corner, and Boyle fires the puck into his own net. Game over. 1-0 for the good guys. UNBELIEVABLE. O'Reilly gets credit for the goal. The biggest one of his career.

Other playoff series notes: Phoenix wins game 3 in Detroit 4-2. WW nets his third goal of the playoffs. I miss Peter Mueller. Also, after two games, all the playoff series were tied at 1-1. That's good hockey kids.

 ~ Continue reading for play-by-play ~

First minute: Blake gets the much deserved and very friendly "welcome back" from Avs fans. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

18:52 Thornton takes a shot on Anderson well AFTER a whistle on an offsides, and both teams say hello to each other as the Avs let Thornton know that douchbaggery is not allowed at the Can.

18:17 Tucker gets under San Jose's skin and draws a roughing penalty. Tucker already pulling his weight. Love it.PP Colorado.

17:54 Hejduk runs into a Paul Stastny entering the offensive zone and goes down hard. He takes a good minute to get to his feet.It looked like it was his bum knee that took the brunt of the contact. Doubtful he returns. So know both teams are missing a goal scorer. Hejduk and Heatley.

16:01 Darcy Tucker stays a little too revved up and gets called for elbowing seconds after they Avs PP ends. PP SJ.

15:20 Galiardicus goes strong to the net short-handed.

14:00 Holding penalty on SJ to end their powerplay. Demers second penalty of the game. Avs can't capitalize. Man, the Avs really miss Mueller on the man advantage.

11:15 Nabokov ROBS McLeod in front on a beauty two on one out of the corner with O'Reilly.

8:10 McLeod destroys a SJ player behind the Sharks net. 2 seconds later Hendricks destroys another Sharks player against the side boards. We asked for it, and the Highlander and Hendricks deliver!

7:14 Avs get lucky as the Sharks receive a friendly bounce that gives them a point blank shot from the slot but the puck goes over the cage and out of harms way.

4:39 Setoguchi gets a gift as the Avs make a bad change and walks in all alone. Andy gets the better of Devin this time, but the Avs get called for too many men on the play. That's the second one this series. Lame. And why is it always Stewart that serves the bench penalties? Maybe cuz he doesn't kill penalties and Sacco hopes he can streak out of the box on a breakaway. Just a guess, but a savvy move by Sacco if I'm right.

3:48 Malhotra makes a good move to the net on the PP but Anderson makes the big stop. More importantly 3 Avs were there to smack Malhotra down and out of the play after the initial shot. No second chance whack.

1:05 Crowd erupts in cheers as Blake can't hold in the puck at the blueline.

Final minute: Boyle tries to blindside Galiardi coming into the offensive zone, but to his credit(?) he misses.

END FIRST/START SECOND

4 mins in: Avs get lazy clearing the puck. Shades of game 2 period 3. Chris Stewart fails twice to clear. San Jose keeps it in the zone for over 2 solid minutes.

13:10 SoS alone in slot, fires wide.

13:02 Kyle Keefe finds a rogue tooth on the ice. Testament of playoff hockey.

12:08 Duchene enters the offensive zone with speed, makes a good pass to Stoa streaking in, who fires a good shot that gets delfected on it's way to the net.

12:00 Scrum in front of the benches results in minors penalties to Liles, Stoa, and McGinn. Result: San Jose powerplay?? WTF?

11:14 Hannan makes a save with his face on the PK! Saves a goal probably. Avs kill the powerplay. 3 for 3 on the PK.

9:22 Anderson goes Neo, as in Mr. Anderson, as in "the one", and bails out his teammates who again get lazy in their own end. Seriously, I thought the Sharks scored three times on the play only to see Andy skate out of the crease nonchalantly and get the whistle. No big deal.

8:50 Sharks outshooting Avs 20-10. ugh.

8:10 Andy only reason this game is still 0-0. Sharks dominating. Avalanche look tired or confused?? On your toes boys!

6:33 Hendricks big hit behind Nabokov, steals the puck.

6:19 Nabokov makes a huge save on a Hendricks' tip of a Kyle Quincey shot.

5:55 Galiardicus on the break away, thinks too much, makes too many moves and runs out of real estate. Maybe he is human. Nabokov out waits T.J..

5:00 Avs can't clear again. Multiple chances for Sharks' top line.

3:42 Foote gets lazy and goes "old man" trying to hold the puck in at the offensive blue line. Blatantly sticks his foot out. Gets called for tripping. Avs taking too many penalties.

2:35 Hendricks and O'Reilly show their pals how to effectively clear the zone. Avs kill the penalty.

1:05 Wilson losses puck and is slow. Sharks 2-on-1. Anderson's there again.

1:00 SJ's Nichol knocks off the net, yet the face off still in Avs zone? WTF? Bad call. SoS gets tossed off the faceoff. Galiardi steps in, but O'Reilly takes over and wins it.

:30 Stewart around the net, in front, shoots and.....misses.

:10 Setoguchi hits the post.

Final second (after the whistle actually) San Jose takes a shot after the whistle again. Douches. The Pepsi Center ain't THAT loud.

END SECOND/START THIRD

First 2 minutes - SOMEBODY CLEAR THE FUCKING PUCK!!!

17:08 Yelle with a good hit in the offensive zone.

16:47 Foote drops Pavelski into the back of the net as Little Joe attempts the wraparound. Nicely done Cap'n.

16-something: Anderson throws a check behind his net. giggle/snicker

15:45 Foote jumps in on the play, can't get back, leads to a good scoring chance for Nichol. Somebody throw Andy a bone please.

14:04 3-on-2 for San Jose because an Avalanche player fell down. Avs being out shot 37-12.

12:18 Clowe walks out in front completely unmolested and fires a shot on Andy who hugs the post.

10:50 Thornton is a big dude. Nobody can knock him off the puck. Another LONG puck possession in the Avs zone by San Jose.

9:50 Liles passes in front on the rush to McLeod, but it bounces off Nabokov.

9:30 Carmelo Anthony becomes a hockey fan.

9:10 Setoguchi alone in the slot. Shoots wide.

6:36 Avs can't hang onto the puck. Foote goes to the locker room.

6:11 Marleau ALL ALONE in the slot but Andy stops it. The Sharks hold the puck in for about 16 days leading to Quincey taking a penalty in the corner (at 5:47). Man, that Sharks player fell down way too easy.

5:35 The Avs can only clear the puck on the PK, but they do a fantastic job of it.

4:54 Anderson sliding save on a cross ice one timer.

3:59 Rob Blake huge slapper, but Andy stops it and doesn't allow a rebound for his 47th save.

3:52 Foote returns and shoves a dangerous loose puck out of the crease.

3:21 Galiardi takes a stupid, stupid penalty on an icing call as he runs Setoguchi into the boards. Setoguchi channels his drama classes from junior high and lays on the ice, but then of course jumps up and skates merrily back to the bench after the call is made. PP Sharks.

3:09 Quincey dives and punches the puck out of the zone.

2:08 Holy crap. Anderson for freakin' President.

1:25 Liles steals from Setoguchi at the blue line and clears. Powerplay over. WOW. 6 for 6 on the PK.

END THIRD/START OVERTIME (Anderson 50 saves to start OT)

AVS WIN! AVS WIN! AVS WIN! AVS WIN! AVS WIN! AVS WIN! AVS WIN! AVS WIN!

19:09 I don't know if O'Reilly got a stick on it, but who cares! Boyle shoots the puck towards his net from the corner and it somehow squeezes through Nabokov at the post! Another Sharks D'man scores a goal for us. My heart is pounding out of my chest.

Man, Sharks fans are gonna be pissed.

DDC's Take:  I’m speechless about the ending, amazed at our power play, annoyed at Diver Setoguchi and worried about our lack of offense. But this is all about dandy Andy. I was never worried. All those shots by the Sharks, all the extended shifts in our zone, all those penalties…and I never once thought the puck was going to get past Craig Anderson. That was an incredible performance. Simply amazing.

Derek's Take:  Wow. That's the only word that I can come up with. Craig Anderson. I don't know what else I can say. If he is not here in Denver, this team is not anywhere close to where it is. T.J. Galiardi is growing and maturing as a hockey player on a day-to-day basis. I'm loving watching this young team grow and mature together. It is only going to make this team better in the long run. I just watched Dan Boyle being interviewed right now and he said, "It's the worst thing that happen to a player." When asked about Andy's play, "He played well." Well said Mr. Boyle, well said.

Mike's Take:  That was a redunkulous game.  It really was two games: one in the first period where everybody on both teams was interested in playing an actual game of hockey, and then the rest of the game where only about 5 Avalanche players and all of San Jose's came out from the first intermission.  All I can say is thank goodness Chicago never found a place for Anderson.  If they had anybody who could accurately evaluate talent during the Dollar Bill years, the current incarnation of the Blackhawks would be ridiculously well built.  I'm also going to give some man-love out to T.J. Galiardi.  He keeps doing everything within his power to win every facet of a playoff hockey game.  Radar O'Reilly was scrumptrelescent all night and his line was buzzing.  He also did yoeman's work on the PK.  The bad from last night is the effort in the defensive zone.  Gotta be better.  I wish we could point to a high shot total and make the usual caveats: "They were all from the outside." "Anderson had easy saves because the D was taking away the prime scoring opportunities." "The Corsi is wrong."  But we can't.  The Avs looked like shiz in the 2nd and 3rd.  I don't know if San Jose's coaching staff is recognizing things and adapting (if so, it only took the organization over half a decade to hire somebody with those skills, so good job!) or if Joe Sacco just flat out isn't adjusting, but you'd think after that disastrous 2nd game and 2nd period of this game, they'd try SOMETHING different in the third, but no.  Seriously, you have to figure something out Sacco.  Like, now.

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