BOSTON – In retrospect, Craig Anderson explained Monday afternoon, the 53 shots he faced Sunday against the Islanders was amazing for one reason.
“You would think maybe a few would go in,” Anderson said.
But the Panthers goalie not only stopped all 53 shots when shutting out the Islanders 1-0, but he set an NHL record in the process.
The 53 shots were the most faced by a goalie or team in a shutout since the NHL began tracking such records back in 1955-56.
That’s right, more than a half century.
The last goalie to record 50 or more saves in a shutout was Islander Glenn Healy, when on Jan. 19, 1990, he turned aside 51 when beating the Canucks 3-0.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Anderson of the record. “It’s an honor to have it. When you consider all the great goalie who have played, it’s pretty neat to have.”
Anderson faced 50 shots in a victory last year when playing in Rochester, N.Y., of the American Hockey League. “Back in Chicago, when playing midget major, I remember winning 1-0 or 2-1 when we were outshot something like 40-5,” Anderson recalled. “But nothing like this.”
Anderson, who got the team’s hero cape at the end of the evening and a shaving-cream pie in the face courtesy of defenseman Steve Montador, also faced an Islander-record 29 shots in the second period. Basically, 1.5 shots per minute.
Anderson was asked if he was more mentally or physically drained after the second.
“I think physically,” Anderson said. “Throughout the period, I wasn’t really playing the puck. I wasn’t leaving the net. I was just trying to save my energy.”
During a television timeout, Anderson said he cleared his head by “going to the bench, grabbing a drink, and skating casually back to the net.”
“I pretty much kept to myself,” he added.
The classy Anderson, who has stopped his last 65 shots dating back to a 2-1 overtime win Feb. 23 against Philadelphia, gave credit after the game to his teammates for “blocking shots, putting their faces on the line,” and keeping the Islanders from in front of the net.
Anderson is 4-5-1 on the season with a 2.38 goals against and .930 save percentage.