Avalanche 1 Sharks 0 (OT)
DENVER — Ryan O’Reilly was credited with a bizarre goal 51 seconds into overtime following an errant clear by defenceman Dan Boyle, giving the Colorado Avalanche a 1-0 victory over San Jose on Sunday night and a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference series.
Avalanche netminder Craig Anderson was splendid all night, stopping 51 shots.
Both Evgeni Nabokov and Anderson were locked in on this night after allowing a combined 11 goals in Game 2.
Nabokov didn’t have much a chance on the winner. He was hugging the post when Boyle tried to send the puck around the boards as O’Reilly pursued him. The puck wound up sneaking in between Nabokov and the post.
“We didn’t beat their goalie. We found a way to beat ours,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in Denver.
Anderson is used to seeing a large volume of pucks, leading the NHL in shots faced and saves this season.
He never blinked, even when being outshot by a 42-7 margin in the final two periods. He was sprawling and diving all over the ice the entire game.
“When you work hard and you stay positive, good results happen and you get the lucky bounces,” Anderson said. “It’s remarkable.”
The Sharks are a team with heavy expectations, especially after a string of early post-season exits in recent years.
The weight just became a little heavier.
As Devin Setoguchi skated off the ice, he swatted in disgust at an object that had been tossed onto the ice.
Boyle wasn’t immediately available after the game.
Asked what he would say to him, though, teammate Marc-Edouard Vlasic simply said, “Forget about it.”
“I didn’t see it,” Vlasic said. “I just saw the puck in the net. It’s unfortunate. It happens. It’s not his fault and nobody blames him.”
The Sharks were missing a big piece of their offence as Dany Heatley sat out with an unspecified injury. Heatley has been on the same line with Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, a pairing that scored 40 per cent of San Jose’s goals in the regular season.