April 19, 2010
Click here to follow Puck Daddy on Facebook.
In overtime, Craig Anderson's(notes) remarkable, career-defining 51-save performance had given the eighth-seeded Colorado Avalanche a chance to take the lead in their Western Conference playoff series against the top-seeded San Jose Sharks. It was just a matter of which Avalanche player would step up offensively and break the scoreless tie to reward Anderson with the victory.
Ouch. Just ... ouch. The local Colorado broadcast felt that O'Reilly may have tipped the pass (video) behind goalie Evgeni Nabokov(notes), but the Sharks voices via Versus seem convinced it was an own-goal. The Mercury News saw it as an own-goal as well. Said Boyle after the game to reporters (via NHL Network's postgame coverage):
"I don't know what happened. That was pretty much the worst thing that can happen, to put it in your own net. ... I don't know if it hit his stick or what."
Nabokov said it hit the shaft of his stick and went in short side, and that he was expecting the puck to go behind the net. Coach Todd McLellan said "it is what it is." Own-goal or not, it was a mistake by Dan Boyle that handed the game to Colorado. Can't wait for that next blog post.
Colorado wins, 1-0, to take a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference quarterfinals. The confident, remarkable play by Anderson in this game and in the series is evoking the name Jonas Hiller(notes), who stonewalled San Jose last season. The Sharks peppered Anderson without star winger Dany Heatley(notes), who was scratched with an undisclosed injury. The Avalanche lost star winger Milan Hejduk(notes) to injury in the first period.
If you're the Sharks, how the heck do you shake this one, with all of that added baggage that comes with being the Sharks in the postseason?