The Colorado Avalanche is now riding a season-high six-game winning streak, thanks in large part to the play of netminder Craig Anderson.
During Sunday night’s 4-0 victory over the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center, Anderson held down the fort early when the Stars jumped out to a strong start and then continued his solid play once the Avalanche got the offensive wheels churning.
The Stars recorded nine of the game’s first 13 shots on goal and generally controlled the play for the first 10 minutes of the contest, but Anderson was up to the task, stopping all nine attempts and 12 total in the opening frame.
The Park Ridge, Ill., native didn’t see quite as much action in the second period as the Avalanche clamped down defensively, but Anderson stopped all seven shots the Stars threw his way. The final frame was much of the same, as the netminder made eight stops to finish the game with a 27-save shutout. It was Anderson’s fifth whitewash of the season and the 12th of his career.
“We’ve just been playing great the last few games, making my job a lot easier,” said Anderson. “When my job looks easier it means the guys in front of me are doing their job. They’re blocking shots, making plays. We’re playing great hockey as a team.”
Anderson has been in goal for each of the Avalanche’s six consecutive wins and has posted a 1.14 goals-against average with a .965 save percentage and two shutouts.
Forward Chris Stewart, who had a goal and an assist against Dallas, praised Anderson’s play while also giving a nod to the Avalanche’s defensive effort as a whole.
“We’re all buying into a team defense here and blocking shots and doing whatever it takes,” said Stewart. “The times where we’ve slipped up a couple of times Andy’s been standing on his head, doing his job and he used the term the other day we’re all pulling on the same rope, going the same direction.”
With the victory, the Avalanche reached 30 wins in the fewest number of games (51) since the 2000-01 Stanley Cup championship team did it in 47 games. A Little Short
T.J. Galiardi gave the Avalanche a 2-0 lead in the opening frame with the first short-handed goal of his career. After poking the puck away from Dallas defenseman Matt Niskanen just inside the blue line in the Avalanche’s defensive end, Galiardi raced up the right side before cutting toward the middle on a breakaway. The rookie’s initial attempt was stopped by Marty Turco, but Galiardi knocked home his own rebound at 11:30.
It was the fifth short-handed tally of the season for the Avalanche. Colorado had four short-handed goals all of last season.Loose Pucks
Tonight was the 100th regular season meeting between the two franchises, which includes the Quebec Nordiques and Minnesota North Stars…The Avs/Nordiques lead the all-time series 45-37-12-6…Forward Chris Durno dropped the gloves with Dallas’ Brian Sutherby midway through the third period, the 10th fight the Avalanche has been involved in during the past five contests…With a goal and an assist tonight, Paul Stastny
extended his point streak to six games (2g/6a) and tied his career-long assist streak (six games)…Defenseman John-Michael Liles extended his season-high assist/point streak to five games (1g/6a) when he picked up a helper on Stastny’s tally.