The Colorado Avalanche found themselves in a game where they
could not get anything going in their favor. They spent most of the game in
their own zone, and watch shot after shot fly towards goalie Craig Anderson.
on one of the strangest plays in recent playoff history, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle threw the
puck into his own net to win the game for the Avs in overtime.
“That is the flukiest thing I have ever seen in hockey,”
said Matt Duchene. “We’ll take it.”
Boyle had received the puck from Douglas Murray, and was
attempting to send it back to him, when he accidentally shot it past goalie
Evgeni Nabokov. Ryan O’Reilly was credited with goal, as he was the last Avs
player to touch the puck.
Although the Avs won on the fluke goal, the only reason that
the Avs were able to win the game was the stellar play of Anderson, who again
saw 50 plus shots come his way.
“They were throwing a lot at the net,” stated Anderson. “Driving
to the net and getting some rebounds. The guys did a great job, I don’t know
how many, but they blocked a bunch. We cleaned up in front, and we didn’t allow
them to get second or third opportunities most of the night.”
Although the Avs were doing a good job of not allowing
second or third chances, they were having issues getting the puck out of their
own zone. The Sharks were doing an excellent job of cycling the puck, and
controlling it behind the Avs net.
With most of the play taking place in the Avs zone, the Avs
took six penalties, but were able to kill all of them. Not only was it the play
of Anderson that helped during the penalty kill, but the strong play of the
penalty-killers as well.
The tandem of Ryan O’Reilly and Stephane Yelle made it
hard for the Sharks to get setup in the Avs zone.
“You don’t want to take that many, but it happens,” said O’Reilly.
“I thought we did a great job. Andy stood on his head for us there. It gives us
confidence. Confidence to pressure them and give them a chance to make
mistakes. We just have to get the puck and it works out.”
With all the penalties and most of the game played in the
Avs zone, it didn’t come as a surprise that the Avs only managed 16 shots on
net through three periods. The first period is where the Avs had the most shots
on net with nine, but saw the numbers dwindle to three in the second, and four
in the third.
Another factor that was not in the Avs favor was that they
lost two players during the course of the game. Milan Hejduk went down in the
first period after accidentally running into Paul Stastny during the Avs first
power-play. Then, in the second period, Ryan Stoa injured his lower body and
did not return. Both players did not return to the ice.
“We’re obviously missing some guys,” stated Duchene. “I
think I lost four line mates tonight during the game. It was a little different
for us, and we were running fumes a little bit out there.”
Despite being dominated by the Sharks all game long, the
only thing that mattered was that the puck went into the Sharks net. With the
overtime victory, the Avs now lead the series 2-1, in what was deemed a pivotal
game three for both teams.
“I think Andy deserved that one,” said O’Reilly. “He was
standing on his head all night. Me personally, I just forechecked and I got a
lucky bounce. Some days you get them and some days you don’t.”
On a side note: The 51 saves that Anderson made was the most
ever by an Avalanche goaltender in a home playoff game.