The Colorado Avalanche have been one of the biggest surprises from the first quarter of the NHL season. Despite the retirement of Joe Sakic, a smattering of injuries, lack of a proven starting goaltender, the Avalanche still sit atop the Northwest Division with 32 points. Career backup Craig Anderson played beyond expectations through the first month of the season, and he’s arguably the number one reason for the team’s early success. A look at the numbers indicates that he’s going to need some support if this Colorado team is going to be a contender.
Anderson, the American Olympic hopeful, pulled out a victory in ten of his first 13 appearances this season while posting an even 2.00 goals against average. With 22 games played already, Anderson is on pace to shatter his single season high of 31 appearances, set last year in Florida. The heavy workload might be taking it’s toll on the 28-year old, though.
Since October 30th, Anderson has posted a loss in seven of ten games and his GAA was an ugly 3.50 over that span. Even more alarming, Anderson’s save percentage over the that same ten game period has been a paltry .879, far below his .918 on the season.
Are the Colorado Avalanche the real deal? Or were they playing beyond their ability and reaping the benefits of struggling Vancouver, Edmonton, and Minnesota teams in the normally competitive Northwest Division?
Either way, Craig Anderson will need to be dominant for this team to remain a legitimate playoff contender.